FDNY Prevails in Discrimination Suit, Appeal Filed

An FDNY firefighter who claimed he was sexually assaulted and racially discriminated against when assigned to his first firehouse after the fire academy, is appealing entry of judgment in favor of the city. Gordon Springs filed suit against the city and several firefighters in 2017.

Springs contended he was sexual assaulted on May 4, 2015, at the quarters of Engine Co. 40 and Ladder 35, and harassed and abused on an ongoing basis thereafter. His allegations led to an investigation that resulted in the discipline of seven FDNY members.

Springs filed a second suit in 2017 accusing FDNY and several members of discrimination and retaliation on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and sexual orientation. That suit was dismissed in 2020 with a judge concluding the allegations were little more than petty affronts that did not arise to the level of creating a hostile work environment. Here is more on that case.

Last month a federal court jury ruled in favor of FDNY in Springs’ first lawsuit, prompting Springs to appeal to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Here is a copy of the notice of appeal and original judgment.

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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