Jury Awards LA Firefighter $2.75 Million For Retaliation

A veteran Los Angeles City firefighter who claims he was ostracized after complaining about the way the city’s dive team was being run, has been awarded $2.75 million for retaliation by a superior court jury.

Stephen Meiche claims that after he reported that dive team members had improperly destroyed and discarded property bought with federal Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) funds, and falsified training records, he was “ostracized, denied overtime, transferred, harassed, degraded, being subjected to a constant and pervasive hostile work environment, being marginalized within the diving unit so as to push Plaintiff out of the diving unit, and otherwise trying to make Plaintiff’s life on the job so difficult that he simply goes away and retires.” He further claims the LAFD refused to investigate his allegations, but did investigate claims made against him by other team members.

Meiche, 57 and a member of the department since 1980, filed suit in 2016 alleging four counts of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in violation of state law. A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury awarded him the verdict yesterday after deliberating for one day.

Here is more on the verdict.

Here is a copy of the complaint outlining Meiche’s allegations: MEICHE v CITY of LOS ANGELES

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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