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Constitutional Rights

NY Firefighter Loses Middle Eastern Ethnicity Discrimination Suit

An Ithaca firefighter who claims he was discriminated against and wrongfully terminated because he is of Middle Eastern decent, has lost his federal court lawsuit. Mark Hassan was terminated by the Ithaca Fire Department in 2011. US District Court Judge Michael A. Telesca had an entirely different take citing numerous examples of Hassan’s difficult personality.

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Maryland Male-on-Male Harassment Suit Settled

An $8 million lawsuit filed in 2013 by a paramedic firefighter who claims co-workers harassed him over his effeminate demeanor has reportedly been settled. Zackary C. Tyndall sued the Berlin Fire Company and four supervisors alleging they engaged in a pattern and practice of harassment based upon their perception that he is homosexual. Tyndall claims he was regularly called “queer”, “faggot”, and “cocksucker” by coworkers.

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Connecticut Fire Department Sued For Sex, Race and Ethnicity Discrimination

A male firefighter with the Danbury, Connecticut Fire Department is suing the city, Mayor Bernard Meehan, a deputy chief, the present fire chief, the past fire chief and his union alleging sex discrimination/harassment, race discrimination and ethnicity discrimination. Reynoldo Rodriguez, who describes himself as being “of Puerto Rican-American Hispanic descent”, filed an 81 page - 236 paragraph – 12 count complaint earlier this year.

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Missouri Fire District Settles Same Sex Benefits Suit

A Missouri fire district has agreed to pay $20,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of a captain who sought spousal benefits for her same-sex partner. The ACLU of Missouri filed the action against the Ozark Fire Protection District on behalf of Captain Andi Mooneyham, who married Tara Muck on July 25, 2013 in California, where same sex marriages were legal.

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Illinois Firefighter Suspended After Making Sexual Harassment Complaint

An Illinois firefighter who was already suing her fire department for sexual harassment was suspended last week after she filed additional harassment allegations. Country Club Hills firefighter Dena Lewis-Bystrzycki was suspended after she spoke with reporters about updated pleadings filed in her ongoing sexual harassment suit against the city.

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Edison IAFF Local 1197 Sued By Member for Race Discrimination

A black firefighter in Edison, New Jersey is suing his union for race discrimination over a grievance filed on behalf of two white firefighters that adversely affected him. Anthoney Robinson, claims that his hire date was changed without his knowledge as a result of a grievance filed by Edison Firefighters, IAFF Local 1197. The union claims the hire date was properly adjusted because Robinson was laid off soon after being hired in June, 2005.

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First Amendment, Tattoo Policies and Religion

Today’s burning question: In your July 2, 2015, post on the legality of a no-show tattoo policy, you included a quote that “A police officer’s uniform is not a forum for fostering public discourse or expressing one’s personal beliefs.” Would this interpretation prevent police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel from proselytizing while in uniform?

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Patterson Settles Retaliation Suit With Dispatcher For $80k

A New Jersey dispatcher who sued the Patterson Fire Department in federal court over harassment he sustained after reporting misconduct by two firefighters has received an $80,000 settlement. Robert Connizzo claimed that co-workers harassed, assaulted, and retaliated against him for informing superior officers about a conversation he overheard on a recorded line.

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Suspended Hartford Deputy Chief Files Suit

A deputy chief from Hartford, Connecticut who was suspended for 30 days without pay last week, has filed suit against his fire chief, two other ranking officers, and the mayor alleging violations of his right to free speech. Deputy Chief Daniel Nolan filed suit today in Connecticut Superior Court naming Fire Chief Carlos Huertas, Interim Assistant Chief Scott Brady, Fire Marshal Roger Martin, Mayor Pedro Segarra.

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Volunteer Firefighter’s Right To Due Process

Today’s Burning Question: If a volunteer firefighter is dismissed from a department without the governing board following it’s rules on dismissal which includes formal charges and a hearing, can the volunteer file a 1983 claim against the board? Is this a due process violation?

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Ohio Man Arrested for Filming Accident Scene

An Ohio man is facing criminal trespass charges after he filmed close-up images of the aftermath of a fatal motor vehicle accident, including footage he took inside the vehicle showing the victims. Paul Pelton, 41, is facing one count of trespass of a vehicle, a misdemeanor. News reports indicate that he posted the video on Facebook and sought to sell it to news outlets.

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