Constitutional Rights

Kansas State Council of Firefighters First Amendment Suit Continues

The Kansas State Council of Fire Fighters and former Hays Firefighters IAFF Local 2119 President Aaron Ditter have survived a motion to dismiss their federal lawsuit against the City of Hays, Fire Chief Gary Brown and Assistant City Manager Paul Briseno. The suit accuses Chief Brown and Briseno of violating the First Amendment by prohibiting Ditter from continuing to be a member KSCFF after his promotion to captain.

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NJ and Indiana Fire Departments Settle Discrimination Suits

Two settlements are in the fire law news today. In New Jersey, the Neptune Township Fire District No. 1 settled a race discrimination case filed by an African American firefighter who claims he was wrongfully denied additional compensation for extra duties and retaliated against when he complained.

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Chief Cochran’s Suit Survives Motion to Dismiss

A federal judge has refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed by former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was terminated earlier this year by Mayor Kasim Reed. Reed was upset over a self-published book Chief Cochran authored about his religious beliefs that some consider to be critical of homosexuality.

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$1 Million Verdict For Racial Harassment and Retaliation Upheld

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has refused to overturn a $1 million jury verdict in favor of a black firefighter who claims he was harassed and retaliated against by the Montebello Fire Department. Vernon Creswell filed suit in 2013 claiming he had been the victim of race discrimination, racial harassment and retaliation while a firefighter in Montebello

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Oakland Captain Sues for Discrimination

A veteran captain with the Oakland Fire Department who claims he was passed over for promotion to battalion chief has filed suit alleging discrimination and retaliation based upon his Native American and Hispanic descent. Captain Joseph Torres claims that Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed purposefully bypassed him in favor of caucasian and black candidates.

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GA Supreme Court Upholds Pension Contribution Increases for Firefighters

The Supreme Court of Georgia handed Atlanta firefighters, along with other city workers, a loss in their bid to challenge significant increases to their pension contributions. Police, firefighters and city workers filed a class action suit in 2013 seeking to block the city’s attempt to increase their pension contributions by at least 5%, and up to an additional 10% depending on how much the city has to increase its contributions.

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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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