Oregon Firefighter Recruit Settles Wrongful Termination Suit for $150k

An Oregon firefighter recruit who was terminated from a fire department training program twice in 2017, has agreed to settle his wrongful termination and retaliation lawsuit for $150,000. Brock Bryant was terminated by Columbia River Fire Rescue on May 1, 2017 for “failure to meet the standards expected of a firefighter.”

He was reinstated to the department in July 2017 following a union grievance, but was terminated a second time on September 22, 2017 for “failure to pass the final tests given to all probationary firefighters.”

Bryant filed suit in US District Court alleging both terminations were retaliation because he spoke out “about what he believed in good faith to be conduct that was unlawful discrimination, and/or retaliation, and/or harassment contrary to generally accepted firefighting rules, regulations and standards.” Bryant, who identifies himself as a white male in court documents, also alleged race discrimination, whistleblower violations, intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, and violations of the 1st and 14th Amendment.

The suit named the fire department, Fire Chief Mike Greisen, EMS Division Chief David Coombs, and Training Chief Josh Marks and originally sought $1.3 million in damages. It was on track to go to trial late this summer or early fall.

The terms of the settlement are outlined in the attached agreement:

Here is a copy of the amended complaint:

Here is the fire department’s answer:

More on the story.

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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