Los Angeles Settles Discrimination Suit for $3 Million

A lawsuit filed in 2017 by six minority fire prevention inspectors with the Los Angeles City Fire Department has been settled for $3 million. The inspectors claim they were subjected to harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

The plaintiff-inspectors, Battalion Chief Jerome Boyd, Captain Gary Carpenter, Captain Andre Johnson, Captain David Riles, Inspector Aaron Walker and Inspector Glenn Martinez, contend they refused to go along with efforts to resolve a long-standing back-log of overdue fire inspections because it would involve lowering standards. As a result, they claim to have suffered retaliation.

The complaint identified Chief Boyd, Captain Carpenter, Captain Johnson, David Riles, and Inspector Walker as African American and Inspector Martinez as Hispanic. Among the allegations made in the complaint by the firefighters was: “The LAFD is essentially an all-white boys club and anyone who fails to align themselves with this mentality is looked down upon and treated differently.”

Here is more on the original filing, including a copy of the complaint.

The Los Angeles City Council voted yesterday to settle the lawsuit. 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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