Oregon, Pennsylvania and Michigan Wrongful Termination Cases In The Fire Law Headlines

Three wrongful termination cases are in the fire law headlines today, one from Oregon, one from Pennsylvania and one from Michigan. All three are updates on cases we covered in the past few months.

In Oregon, the wrongful termination and defamation suit filed by former Fire Chief Mike Balzer against the Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District was removed to US District Court after Chief Balzer’s amended complaint raised First Amendment and due process issues.

Chief Balzer alleges that the board became increasingly hostile towards him due to his wife’s social media posts that were critical of the board. He also claims the board “intentionally created a hostile work environment” leading up to his firing on October 12, 2015. More on the story.

In Pennsylvania, Logan Township United Fire Department is moving to have a race discrimination lawsuit fired by a former firefighter dismissed. Tarence Mosey claims members of the department and its leadership engaged in an assortment of racially offensive and discriminatory acts culminating with his demotion and termination in 2014. Mosey claims the harassment was so bad he developed post-traumatic stress disorder.

Logan Township claims that Mosey’s suit is barred by the statute of limitations. More on that suit.

In Michigan, mlive.com is digging into the details behind the firing of City of Wyoming firefighter Thomas Saladino and his subsequent filing of a civil rights lawsuit. Saladino claims he was retaliated against by the city administration over his political support for the so-called “two-hatter” law.

In a comprehensive story, reporter John Agar dug through public records including Saladino’s discipline report, and interviewed numerous people with knowledge of the details of what took place. Saladino, who was also serving as Fire Chief for the Jamestown Township Fire Department while a Wyoming firefighter, was accused of being paid by both departments for the same incidents. No criminal charges were ever filed. More on that 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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