One of the longest-serving firefighters in the Houston Fire Department has taken the city back to court for the third time. District Chief Charles Julian, a 44 year veteran and 69 years of age, filed suit in Harris County against the City of Houston alleging race and age based discrimination, and retaliation.
Chief Julian joined the department in 1968 and became a district chief in 1984. Since then Julian’s efforts to move higher in the fire department resulted in two earlier lawsuits, both of which he won.
The first suit was filed in 1999 when Chief Julian was 56 and the fire chief allegedly cited his age in denying him a promotion. A Federal court jury ruled in Chief Julian’s favor, and following an appeal the lawsuit was settled resulting in his promotion to assistant chief and the city paying $215k as compensation and attorney fees.
The second suit arose after Phil Boriskie became the new fire chief in 2004. Houston Fire Department rules allow a fire chief to appoint his own assistant chiefs, and Chief Julian was demoted back to District Chief. He filed suit in 2006 alleging that he received low evaluation scores and was demoted in retaliation for his first lawsuit. A Federal court ruled in his favor awarding $140k in compensation and attorney fees.
The current lawsuit alleges that Chief Julian was passed over for the fire chief’s position in retaliation for the two earlier lawsuits he filed against the city. He alleges that the city had been giving him poor ratings since 2005 making him ineligible for promotion to deputy chief/shift commander. The lawsuit alleges that the city has been passing him over promotions in favor of younger lesser experienced people. The suit also alleges race and age discrimination.