The attorney for a Lincoln Fire & Rescue captain who won a $1.2 million verdict against the city last month for retaliation after he reported discrimination wants a judge to order mandatory training on harassment, discrimination and retaliation for all department supervisors.
In a motion filed this week, Troy Hurd's attorney, Kelly Brandon, also is asking Senior U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp to force the department to post a "conspicuous notice" on employee bulletin boards at all the city's fire stations about Hurd's case and the jury's finding that command staff's actions amounted to illegal retaliation.
She suggested a four-paragraph statement that ends: "Please be aware that the City of Lincoln and Lincoln Fire & Rescue are determined to learn from these findings and are committed to remedying all acts of retaliation and discrimination."
Brandon said it was needed to counter the fact that Hurd has suffered "a loss of reputation, humiliation and embarrassment and has been shunned by co-workers and command staff alike."
She said all efforts to date by the city have been "too weak and halfhearted to be successful."
"The court has an obligation, considering the jury's unanimous finding of retaliation to use its equitable powers to prevent future violations," the attorney said.
Brandon also asked Smith Camp to order Hurd's promotion to battalion chief or to award him "front pay" because the city didn't consider him for a backup EMS supervisor position despite being qualified for the job.
At trial, Hurd testified that he wasn't able to resign his position at Lincoln Fire & Rescue due to family and financial obligations. And, because of his seniority, he can't make the same pay if he starts over at another department, Brandon said.
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Lincoln city attorneys next will be given a chance to counter why the steps aren't needed.
They already have asked the judge to throw out the jury’s verdict, in part because one of the jurors created a computer spreadsheet to help them arrive at the amount of damages.
Last month, at the end of a two-week trial, the federal jury in Omaha awarded Hurd, a Lincoln fire captain, $1,177,815.43 for retaliation after he reported discrimination against a female firefighter trainee born in Iraq.
At trial, Hurd's attorneys said after Hurd filed a formal complaint alleging firefighter trainer Eddie Mueller, now a captain, was treating Sara Khalil differently because she’s a woman born in Iraq, people in the department started looking at him as a troublemaker.
They said he got passed over for promotions and written up for things that didn’t lead to disciplinary action for others.
In 2014, after a two-year investigation, Kimberly Taylor-Riley, the city’s director of equity and diversity, concluded in a 64-page report that Lincoln Fire & Rescue command staff had retaliated against Hurd and treated him differently than others.
The city denied it, saying Hurd only was written up when he did something wrong.