Georgia Firefighter Sues For Age Discrimination

A 55-year old Georgia firefighter is suing his department accusing supervisors of trying to fabricate allegations against him and forcing him to resign earlier this year. Anthony Galvin filed suit last week in US District court accusing the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department of a single count of age discrimination.

However, the complaint alleges a much wider effort on the part of department superiors to force Galvin off the department.  Galvin claims a sergeant falsely accused him of threatening him with a gun, and was not disciplined for making the false claim. According to the complaint:

  • On or about March 4, 2018, Plaintiff’s direct supervisor, Chief Chris Reid, informed Plaintiff that a Sergeant named Bob King reported that Galvin threatened him with a firearm.
  • According to Chief Reid, Sgt. King did not specify when this occurred or for what reason.
  • On or about March 7, 2018, Plaintiff met with Sgt. King, Chief Reid, and Chief Patrick Ivey.
  • During that meeting, Sgt. King retracted his accusation against Plaintiff.
  • Chief Reid asked Sgt. King if Plaintiff had ever threatened him, and Sgt. King said no.
  • On or about March 13, 2018, Chief Reid told Plaintiff he had been cleared of all allegations.
  • Chief Reid also told Plaintiff that Sgt. King had been written up for making a false report Upon information and belief, Chief Christopher James, head of the Fire Department, rescinded Sgt. King’s write-up.
  • On April 21, 2018, a firefighter with the Fire Department named Russell Phelon called Plaintiff and said that Defendant pressured him to provide a false statement against Plaintiff.
  • Specifically, Phelon said that Chief Wayne Taylor told Phelon to write a statement substantiating King’s accusations against Galvin.
  • When Phelon refused to write a statement, Chief Taylor drafted his own statement and order Phelon to sign it.
  • Also in April 2018, a second firefighter with the Fire Department, Jerome Ricot, told Plaintiff that Chief Taylor asked him to provide information that could be used against Plaintiff.
  • On or about April 24, 2018, Chief Taylor gave Ricot a prepared statement for him to sign.
  • Because the statement contained false allegations against Plaintiff, Ricot refused.
  • On May 24, 2018, Defendant demoted Plaintiff to the rank of Firefighter II.
  • On or around June 1, 2018, Defendant informed Plaintiff that he would be terminated if he did not retire effective August 1, 2018.
  • On or around June 22, 2018, Plaintiff retired from the Fire Department.
  • Defendant replaced Plaintiff with Lieutenant Tammy Thain.
  • Upon information and belief, Lt. Thain is in her mid-30’s.
  • Prior to his demotion, Plaintiff had not received any disciplinary actions or counseling from Defendant.

Here is a copy of the complaint:  Galvin v Augusta Richmond COMPLAINT

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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