Arson Investigators Sue LA City Alleging Race Discrimination

Six Los Angeles City firefighters assigned to the arson division have filed suit alleging race discrimination. Leslie Wilkerson, Joseph Smith, Justin Davis, Robert McClud, Sean Morris, and Mario Newte filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court accusing the department’s leadership of fostering a “good old white boys club.”

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COVID-Related Cases in the Headlines

Two COVID-related cases are in the Fire Law News. In the Northern Mariana Islands, nine firefighters who were terminated for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccination, have filed suit claiming the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and its commissioner, Dennis Mendiola violated their Constitutional rights.

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Massachusetts Chief Loses First Amendment Suit

A lawsuit filed by a former Massachusetts fire chief who was terminated in 2019, has been dismissed by the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Ernest J. Cardillo, Jr., was terminated by the Town of Stockbridge on February 5, 2019.

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BREAKING NEWS: Second Circuit Upholds FDNY’s No Beard Policy

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision that concluded that FDNY has to allow firefighters with a skin condition an accommodation to have beards. In doing so the court concluded: “An accommodation is not reasonable within the meaning of the ADA if it is specifically prohibited by a binding safety regulation promulgated by a federal agency.”

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Terminated Female Firefighters Win One, Lose One

Two cases decided last week involved similar fact patterns where probationary female firefighters were let go at the end of their probationary period, with different results. In Ohio, Sierra Adebisi was fired by the Toledo Fire Department on what was supposed to be her graduation day, August 23, 2019.

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San Francisco Assistant Chief Alleges Harassment and Retaliation

An assistant chief with the San Francisco Fire Department has filed suit claiming she has been targeted by ranking officers because of her gender, because of her Asian-American ancestry, because she is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, for reporting misconduct within the department, and for her outspoken support of other victims of discrimination.

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Oklahoma FD Sued Over Meth-Related Death

The father of a Oklahoma man who died after ingesting methamphetamine, has filed suit against a number of agencies including the responding fire department, claiming each was somehow responsible for his son’s death. Carl Adams filed suit against the Sperry Police Department, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department, St. John's Health System, Inc., and the Country Corner Fire Department.

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Oregon Firefighters Allege Discrimination and Retaliation

Three firefighters with the City of Hillsboro, Oregon, have filed suit claiming they have been the victims of discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation. Anne Raven, Miguel Bautista and Paul Harvey filed a 56-page, 227-paragraph complaint in Washington County Circuit Court last month.

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OKC Settles Discrimination Suit for $175k

A lawsuit filed last year by an Oklahoma City firefighter has been settled for $175,000. Nicholas Martin claimed he had been harassed by his colleagues at Station 9 on numerous occasions during his short tenure on the department.

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Denver Settles With Female Victim of Peeping Lieutenant for $100k

The city of Denver has approved a $100,000 settlement with a female firefighter who was the victim of a digital peeping-Tom case perpetrated by a lieutenant at her station. Daniel Flesner was found guilty of criminal invasion of privacy and attempt to commit tampering with physical evidence last October.

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