Missouri Firefighter Sues Over Age and Weight Discrimination

A Missouri firefighter who was terminated in 2019 for conduct unbecoming, has filed suit contending he was targeted due to his age and a discriminatory fitness policy that targeted his weight.

Anthony Bailey filed suit against the Warrenton Fire Protection District in Warren County Circuit Court earlier this month. In October, 2019, Bailey was arrested following an altercation, but the charges were subsequently dropped. The lawsuit contends that the department used the incident as a pretext to fire him.

According to the Warren County Record, Bailey contends that he complained about discriminatory comments made by supervisors regarding his age and weight. He was 49 at the time. The suit alleges that his firing in December 2019 for conduct unbecoming of a firefighter, followed those complaints. The Record quoted from the complaint: “In contrast … Warrenton Fire Protection District did not terminate, suspend or discipline other employees and volunteers … who were charged with crimes, including driving while intoxicated, assault and poaching.”

The Record also states that when the union negotiated a deal to have him reinstated, he declined the offer because “because he did not wish to return to a hostile environment.” A copy of the complaint is not available.

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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