A San Bernardino Superior Court jury has awarded a former division chief $704,000 for age-discrimination. Division Chief George Corley was terminated by the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District in February, 2012.
Chief Corley, who was 58 when fired, later became the Fire Chief of the Running Springs Fire Department. His attorney, Sandra Noel, is also representing two other former San Bernardino County chief officers, Division Chief John Salvate and Battalion Chief Michael Weis, who claim that when Mark Hartwig was appointed fire chief in May 2011, he began targeting older firefighters.
The jury verdict was announced Monday, finding that age was a “substantial motivating reason” for Chief Corley’s termination. The Press Enterprise quoted Noel as saying that after the verdict was read, Chief Corley “wept…. He felt vindicated.”
The $704,000 broke down as $544,000 for past lost wages and $160,000 for future lost wages.
Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.