Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Federal appeals court sides with Pasco firefighters in appeal of discrimination lawsuit

Times Staff Writers

A federal appeals court has reinstated a jury verdict for two firefighters who claimed Pasco County retaliated against them after they filed discrimination complaints seven years ago.

The 37-page opinion issued Thursday found that the county retaliated against firefighters Anthony Booth and Jerry Brown by requiring psychological tests to keep their jobs.

The case began in 2007 when Booth, who is Hispanic, filed a discrimination complaint against Fire Capt. Mark Bodden. Brown served as a witness for that charge and later filed his own complaint. Brown, whose wife is Jewish, claimed that Bodden made anti-Semitic remarks.

A trial judge set aside the discrimination case, but let a jury decide a separate claim in 2012 that the county and the Pasco County Professional Firefighters Union retaliated against the two.

The jury agreed that the union should not have posted a 2008 memo that identified the firefighters and labeled their claims "frivolous." It also said the county retaliated when it demanded the men undergo psychological tests after they said they couldn't trust co-workers who shunned them.

After the trial, the judge set aside the county's part of the damages, but upheld the union's.

Pasco and the union appealed those rulings, however the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the firefighters.

In its ruling, the court said: "The county ordered the examinations without ever speaking to plaintiffs or their supervisors. The county also failed, entirely, to investigate the potential factual basis for plaintiffs' statements, even after plaintiffs had been declared fit for duty."

The higher court awarded $23,000 in damages from the county to both of the men and $166,000 in damages from the union. Both men still work for Pasco Fire Rescue.

Federal appeals court sides with Pasco firefighters in appeal of discrimination lawsuit 07/03/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 3, 2014 9:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  2. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  3. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  4. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico

    World

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  5. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'

    World

    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."