White firefighter gets 110k in settlement for racial discrimination suit

A white firefighter, Richard D. Zarbo, is being awarded $110,000 in settlement case for a racial discrimination lawsuit that was filed two years ago. The lawsuit claims that Mr. Zarbo was discriminated against for refusing to mistreat his African-American co workers. The Buffalo News reports that Zarbo was fired in 2008, having been a firefighter since 1985, without a proper hearing.

A white firefighter who filed a racial-discrimination lawsuit against the City of Buffalo two years ago is in line to get a $110,000 settlement.

In the federal case, Richard D. Zarbo contended that he was told by his superiors to “reprimand or mistreat” black firefighters and that he was discriminated against when he refused to follow those instructions.

Zarbo accused the city of denying him overtime and other increases in pay, filing departmental charges against him without any detail, and ultimately firing him in the spring of 2008 without a proper hearing.

“I believe I have been the victim of discrimination and retaliation,” Zarbo said in a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prior to the lawsuit.

The settlement with Zarbo, which was recommended by the city’s Law Department and approved by the Common Council earlier this month, is separate from the discrimination case filed by 13 white firefighters over civil service test results that were thrown out in 2005 and 2006. That case is in the damages phase in State Supreme Court.

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