FDNY Sued For Bullying and Retaliation

A veteran Hispanic firefighter filed suit today alleging he was bullied and retaliated against by his colleagues after they learned that he sought and received claimant status under the Vulcan Society discrimination litigation in 2013.

Daniel Rivera, a 14 year FDNY veteran, claims that once his colleagues at Ladder 35 learned he was awarded retroactive seniority on account of his ethnicity, they turned on him. Riviera claims that firefighters he previously worked with for years suddenly began taunting him; harassing him repeatedly over a lifelong fear he had of cockroaches; refusing to exchange shifts him; and left him alone numerous times at fires in violation of department regulations. He claims officers were aware of the bullying but failed to stop it, leaving him psychologically shattered and forcing him to leave the department.

The suit was today filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, naming the City of New York, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, Lieutenant Daniel McEnroe, Lieutenant Dennis Sweeney, and Firefighter Christopher Combs as defendants.

Here is a copy of the complaint: Rivera v NY

The complaint is an interesting read. Incidentally, Rivera’s claims arise out of the same firehouse where probationary firefighter Gordon Springs was allegedly “tea-bagged” in 2015 during his welcome to the station. The Station’s nickname is the “Cavemen”.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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