NJ Firefighters File Suit Over Race Discrimination

Two former New Jersey firefighters have filed a race discrimination suit against their department. Joseph Braxton and Mark Bullock filed suit last week against the City of Linden. The suit was filed in Union County Superior Court accusing the city of race discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation.

According to MyCentralJersey.com, Braxton was terminated earlier this year and Bullock resigned in October 2018. Both are African American. The suit claims that under former Fire Chief Joseph Dooley, race discrimination became unbearable for both of them. While a copy of the suit was not available, various news sources are reporting the complaint alleges:

  • “Braxton and Bullock witnessed the chief overstaff the shift that the chief’s son worked on and leave the other shifts understaffed. Plaintiff Braxton routinely worked on the shift that was understaffed.”
  • “Braxton and Bullock witnessed the chief overstaff the shift that the chief’s son worked on and leave the other shifts understaffed. Plaintiff Braxton routinely worked on the shift that was understaffed.”
  • Chief Dooley used the “n-word” in Bullock’s presence and that he “routinely made disparaging remarks about African-Americans, Jews, women, Hispanics, Poles and other groups.”
  • Firefighters made offensive jokes about African-Americans — including references to watermelons, “apes” and Colin Kaepernick as “Colin Cancer.”

Chief Dooley retired on September 30, 2019.

http://newjersey.news12.com/clip/14953646/2-former-linden-firefighters-file-discrimination-lawsuits

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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