Idaho Fire District Sued Over Elimination of Union President’s Position

An Idaho division chief who was fired after he helped organize a union and served as it’s president, has filed suit against a fire district and its commissioners.

Division Chief Timothy McDermott was fired from the Worley Fire District on November 11, 2014. His lawsuit claims that on his final day Fire Chief Dan Sneve “informed plaintiff McDermott that he was terminated because his actions irritated” the Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners,  Ron Hise.

However, on November 19, 2014 he received a letter from Chairman Hise informing him that his position had been eliminated by vote of the fire district board.

The suit alleges that the termination violated Idaho’s anti-discrimination law, represented a failure to bargain in good faith, and violated Chief McDermott’s constitutional rights under both the First Amendment (freedom of association) and the Fourteenth Amendment (due process). Chief McDermott is seeking damages, reinstatement and a court order requiring the district to implement a previously negotiated collective bargaining agreement.

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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