Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
From a correspondent (original source unknown):
Civil rights ruling backs firefighter
August 10, 2000
BY FRAN SPIELMAN
CITY HALL REPORTER
The Chicago Fire Department retaliated against a Native-American firefighter after he blew the whistle on a vicious firehouse campaign of physical and verbal abuse, a federal civil rights panel has ruled.
The two-page "determination" by John P. Rowe, district director of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, could strengthen Robert Nole's federal lawsuit against the city or prod the Daley administration to offer him a settlement.
"All I want to do is get a settlement with the city and leave this job so I can move on. My career in the Fire Department is over. I will always be known as the guy who stepped forward," said Nole, 35, who's currently assigned to Rescue One at O'Hare Airport.
Nole said his fate was sealed when the city decided that suspensions ranging from three to 30 days were the only punishment necessary for four officers and two firefighters accused of making his life miserable at Engine 112 at Grace and Damen.
The harassment campaign occurred during the winter of 1997 and allegedly included such vicious acts as placing vomit in Nole's fire helmet, locking him in the telephone room and removing his belongings from the firehouse.
Colleagues also threw a 45-pound weight at Nole while he was sleeping. They referred to Nole as "Chief Sitting Bull" and "Geronimo" and danced around him while referring to themselves as "wild Indians."
Rowe ruled there was "reasonable cause" to believe the city retaliated against Nole by "subjecting him to different terms and conditions of employment" after he filed a charge of employment discrimination.
The letter did not specify which of the city's alleged actions constituted retaliation.
The Daley administration categorically denied the most serious charge: that Nole was bypassed for promotion to the job of helicopter pilot for the Air and Sea Rescue Unit after filing his initial EEOC complaint and federal lawsuit against the city.
"He is not certified or trained to fly a helicopter. It has nothing to do with retaliation," said Law Department spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle.
The big chief
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