Terminated Philly Recruit Alleges Beard-Related Religious Discrimination

A recruit firefighter who was dismissed from the Philadelphia Fire Department’s fire academy in 2019 for refusing to shave his beard, has filed suit alleging religious discrimination. Malcolm Lindsay filed suit alleging religious discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

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Bad Week For Fire Law Headlines

While it is rare that we see good news in the Fire Law headlines, last week saw a number of particularly unfortunate headlines for the fire service. I noticed this as I was putting together this week’s Fire Law News newsletter, and searching for today’s Fire Law headline story.

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Minnesota Noose Investigation Closed

An investigation into a noose left hanging in the locker of a Bloomington, Minnesota firefighter last June has ended with without investigators being able to conclude who was responsible. The crudely tied noose was found on June 15, 2020, prompting the city to request the FBI to investigate.

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Rape Allegations Against French Firefighters Prompts Protests

Allegations of sexual misconduct against twenty French firefighters have sparked nation-wide protests by feminist groups seeking a change to the age of consent law. The case dates back to 2008 when the victim claims she was assaulted over a two-year period when she was between 13 and 15-years old.

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Court Upholds Termination of Boston Firefighter

A Massachusetts judge has rejected the appeal of a Boston firefighter who was terminated over a series a racist and homophobic social media posts. Octavius Rowe, a 15-year veteran, was fired by the Boston Fire Department on April 30, 2018 following a lengthy investigation.

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Florida Suit Alleges Slow-Understaffed Response Led to Death

The estate of a man who died on Little Gasparilla Island in 2019 has filed suit against the Little Gasparilla Island Fire and Rescue and Charlotte County alleging negligence and wrongful death. Jaimee Thompson filed suit in Charlotte County Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of her deceased husband, Craig Thompson.

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Ketamine Injection Leads to Lawsuit in Colorado

A Colorado man is suing firefighters and police officers responsible for administering the sedative ketamine during an encounter last year. Jeremiah Axtell filed suit last week naming the Lakewood Police Department, West Metro Fire District and numerous individual officers and firefighters.

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Fire Law VLOG: Turmoil in the Rockport Fire Department

In this episode, Curt interviews Attorney Liam O’Connell who represents Fire Chief James Doyle and numerous Rockport taxpayers who are concerned with the actions of town officials that they claim are illegal. Chief Doyle is facing a termination hearing this week while the taxpayers are suing the town’s Board of Selectmen challenging the town’s efforts to take control of the fire department.

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Discipline, Deception and Hard Cases

Today’s burning question: I was disciplined last week because I called in sick to go to my daughter’s hockey game. Her team was in the championship and I could not get anyone to cover my shift. I am being demoted from captain to engineer but we had a captain who got caught lying on-duty and he got virtually no punishment. Why am I being demoted and he get’s a slap on the wrist? Answer: My father has a saying: hard cases make bad law.

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Polk County Captain Charged in Theft of COVID19 Vaccine

A captain with Polk County Fire Rescue has been arrested and charged with stealing three doses of COVID19 vaccine intended for first responders. Polk County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that Captain Anthony Damiano stole the doses with the assistance of Paramedic Josh Colon in order to give to his mother.

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Illinois FD Sued by Fall Victim

An Illinois woman who was injured in a fall last year, has filed suit accusing the Joliet Fire Department and two of its paramedics with committing gross negligence. Pamela Sinram and her husband Kevin filed suit this week in Will County Circuit Court.

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