Working for a government employer can provide wonderful opportunities as well as unique obstacles. Employees who believe they are treated unfairly by a government employer are familiar with these obstacles. This is because the process to hold a government employer accountable for such actions is much different than that used in the private sector.
A recent case provides an example.
The case begins when the station hired the firefighter as a probationary firefighter from July 2016 through May 2017. In May, the station chose to terminate the firefighter’s position. Upon termination, the firefighter filed a union grievance, stating the termination was retaliation against a compliant he filed for discrimination and harassment. Two months after filing the grievance, the station reinstated the firefighter.
During this second wave of employment, the probationary period ran until September 15, 2017. The station fired him one day before the end of the probationary period. Again, the firefighter states this termination is illegal retaliation after he complained about discriminatory practices within the station.
After his second termination, the firefighter filed a lawsuit against his former employer. The suit includes multiple claims against the station, including discrimination, retaliation and wrongful discharge. Ultimately, the station and individuals listed within the lawsuit agreed to settle the claim. In exchange for dropping the suit, the firefighter will receive a settlement of $150,000. The court awarded these funds as back pay and punitive damages. Punitive damages are monetary awards used by the court to punish the accused and deter future wrongdoing.