RI Firefighter Settles Sick Leave Abuse Termination Case for $175k

A Rhode Island firefighter who was terminated for sick leave abuse in 2015, has agreed to resign and accept a $175,000 settlement rather than continue to fight for reinstatement.

Patrick White, a 15-year veteran of the Tiverton Fire Department, was fired in early 2015 for alleged sick leave abuse. The sick leave incidents occurred between August 2012 and January 2015. White grieved his termination and was ordered reinstated by Arbitrator Mark M. Grossman, who concluded that he

“acted inappropriately in one or two incidents. However, that alone would not be sufficient to find that (he) had committed ‘habitual minor infractions,’ and should be reinstated with all back pay, benefits and leave time that he would have received but for his termination.”

The town appealed Grossman’s ruling to court, setting the stage for the settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, the town agreed to rescind White’s termination, White agreed to resign, and the town agreed to pay White $175,000. The settlement also includes the following:

“White agrees not to make disparaging, critical or otherwise detrimental comments, directly or indirectly, to any person or entity concerning the town, its officials or employees, regarding the circumstances surrounding his termination from the town, which information shall be held in strict confidence.”

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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