The New Haven Fire Department is facing another discrimination charge, this time from a firefighter who claims he was “mercilessly” discriminated against while in training because he was asked to paint fire hydrants, mop floors and wash windows.
Aaron Brantley filed the complaint with the Connecticut State Commission on Human Rights alleging race discrimination. He claims he suffered a shoulder injury, and was asked to do these outrageous tasks while on light duty in May of 2011.
The complaint names the City of New Haven, New Haven Fire Department, Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Egan and Capt. Mark Marcarelli who heads the training division and alleges that Brantley was transferred to different firehouses, ordered to paint 25 to 30 fire hydrants, mop floors, and even instructed to wash windows at the fire training school while it was raining.
Brantley claims he was on light duty at the time, with doctor’s orders restricting him from any repetitive motion with his right arm and lifting more than 21 pounds of weight. Brantley’s attorney, Patricia Cofrancesco, said that the department’s action amounted to “hazing” and went “beyond the pale” of reasonable light-duty work, all because Brantley is Black.
Fire department officials have countered that the tasks assigned to Brantley were all reasonable light duty assignments. Capt. Marcarelli denied ordering Brantley to wash the training academy’s windows in the rain, referring to the allegation as “false” and “ridiculous”.
Chief Egan was quoted as saying “For $50 an hour, I don’t think it is a whole lot to ask someone to do … The fact is, when people are at work, they’re going to work.”