NY Firefighter Settles Age Discrimination Suit for $250,000

A 46-year-old New York volunteer firefighter who was passed over for a paid position in his own department has agreed to accept $250,000 to settle his age discrimination lawsuit.

David Hecht applied for a paid position with the Fairview Fire District in 2012. According to the complaint, Hecht was 44 at the time and:

“is an experienced Volunteer Firefighter, in excellent physical condition, has successfully participated in firefighting training at the Westchester Fire Training Facility in Valhalla, New York, has outscored participants in that training who were half Plaintiff’s age, has taken and passed the competitive civil service examination for the position of paid firefighter and scored within the top three candidates on the resulting certified eligible list, is appointable from that eligible list by reason of his high rank on it, and in all other respects is eminently qualified to be a paid firefighter.”

Despite having superior qualifications, Hecht was passed over in favor of a nineteen-year-old applicant. Hecht claims Fire Chief Anthony LoGiudice “repeatedly proclaimed in words or substance with respect to the District’s skipping of Plaintiff for appointment: ‘I am not wasting $7,000 to send a forty-four year old to the fire training academy when I can hire younger people and get twenty-five years of service out of them.’”

Hecht filed suit in US District Court alleging age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and a violation of the New York Human Rights Law. The case was being tried before a jury when the settlement was reached. According to Lohoud.com, the settlement followed the testimony of Chief LoGuidice.

Here is a copy of the complaint: Hecht v. LoGuidice

More on the story.

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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