1. #1
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    Angry One of those sensitive issues

    I need a little help here. I was approached by my Chief and he stated there were allegations of racism in the department. I was then told that I was one of the members accused. The chief said that I cannot defend myself or confront my accusers about this. I was always under the presumption that if you are accused of something you can defend yourself.

    Speaking for myself this is a BS allegation (to me it sounds like a power struggle), as early as last week I helped a few of our African American firefighters pass an instructor class they were taking. I guess this is what I get for lending a helping hand.

    Does anyone know if I can fight this? I would think that when these allegations prove to be false, I would have some recourse for defamation of character because this is damaging to me and my reputation.
    Last edited by tommygo2540; 10-30-2007 at 05:25 PM.

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    Are you in a union? If so, I would immediately seek representation. If not, you my have to hire you own lawyer. What does in your citys human resource department say about this? Do you have existing policies on disiplinary action?

    BTW, the chief is full of BS if he said you cannot defend yourself.
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  3. #3
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    Thumbs down

    Union stated until something comes in writting they cannot do anything

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    Tell your chief to bring something in writing or shut his pie hole. If the charges aren't strong enough to merit written attention then they are not strong enough to approach someone.

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    Is your Chief accusing you, or is he giving you a heads up? If he was really trying to "get you" it is doubtful that he would have provided you the warning that he did.

    As a side, just cause you helped one person out, does not mean that someone else that identify's with that person's "group" won't be offended by something you you did/said or percieved you to have done/said.

    Good luck, it will be nice when we can go back to just making fun of people for being dumb, ugly or a girl like could be done in the post-civil rights/pre-politically correct 1980's
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    The Chief has to put it in writing. If he calls you in, bring in your group's shift representative to witness the conversation.

    You do have the right to face your accusers.
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone, out of the 4 members that are making these allegations I helped all of them at one time or another. Like I stated this seems to be a play for power, I found out that accuesd were the chief, 2 well respected officers and a senior firefighter.

    What recourse does your departments' have for making false allegations like this?

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    You can always file a complaint with the city/town, but more than likely it will go unfounded. Why? This is a one-on-one situation. It will be a case you said vs. the chief said. Without solid evidence, a witness or written document, the city/town will determine it's inconclusive.

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    I'm assuming what your chief is referring to as "racism" is actually what he should be calling discrimination or harrassment. Like others have said, and you've apparently done, get with your union reps.

    You can also do some research with the EEOC's website or your state's Commission on Human Rights or whatever your state calls it. Also make sure what your department's/city's/district's policy manual says in regards to discrimination/harassment. If the manual is up to snuff, it should have a step-by-step procedure on how to handle these kinds of things, including how to handle false and/or malicious complaints.

    You get into a touchy issue with this, especially since the chief is involved. There's certain procedures that have to be taken in regards to a complaint. If the complaint also includes the chief, it probably went to HR, or at least they're involved somehow. They have to investigate to see if there's any relevance to the complaint, etc.

    I don't know whether or not you have the right to know who accused you, but at times it's better that you don't. If they're making a complaint, they're obviously looking for something and any reaction or confrontation by you can be construed as harrassment, or further harrassment if that's the case.

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    First up, research Weingarten and Garrity. These are rights you have as a union employee. Your union should certainly be able to help you, if not, get some new leadership in your Local. Everyone in your Local should know these like the back of their hand.

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