Wednesday, April 8, 2020

NLFR rejects firefighter’s claims in $2 million sexual harassment lawsuit

Latest articles

Conversation with Samaritan’s Dr. Lesley Ogden – COVID-19

The other day, I reached out to Lesley Ogden, MD, CEO of both Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport, to get some insight on the Covid-19 situation on the central Oregon coast, and what this may mean for society and healthcare in the future.

City of Seaside approves sweeping relief program

With its normally bustling tourism economy on pause due to dramatic local, county, and state restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Seaside approved a diverse and far-reaching relief program in a special meeting of the City Council on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Oregon reports four COVID-19 deaths, 49 new cases

COVID-19 has claimed four more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 33, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 8 a.m. today.

Otis armed robbery fugitive in custody after high-speed chase

Wanted fugitive Jacob Leeland Lunstedt was taken into custody today after a tip to Salem Police led to his capture by local law enforcement after a high-speed chase on Forest Service Road 1726.

Child care openings available to essential workers

Samaritan Early Learning Center in Lincoln City has been approved by the state to provide emergency child care for a prioritized group of essential workers.

Reporter rides bike in Lincoln City, takes pictures

I rode my bike through the seven miles that is Lincoln City Monday and took some pictures along the way. 

Oregon reports 1 COVID-19 death, 69 new cases

COVID-19 has claimed one more life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from 26 to 27, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 8 a.m. today.

Oregon reports four new COVID-19 deaths, 100 new cases

COVID-19 has claimed four more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from 22 to 26, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 8 a.m. today.

Coalition of state agencies ask for voluntary hold on burning

In response to the "Stay Home, Save Lives" Executive Order to reduce the effects of the COVID-19 virus, a coalition of Oregon state agencies are asking Oregonians to voluntarily refrain from conducting outdoor burning. 

Lincoln County receives more high ratings for social distancing

Today, Google announced the release of its COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports that use data from their user’s smartphone location history, to compare how social distancing efforts are working.

NLFR Rilatos

Defendants in a $2 million discrimination lawsuit against North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District #1 maintain a former firefighter was not the intended victim of a sexually explicit prank and abandoned his job following an off-work injury and several medical and personal leaves.

Philip Rialtos, who has filed a multimillion dollar complaint alleging he was terminated as a form of retaliation for reporting a sexual harassment claim, is seeking a jury trial and the firing of NLFR interim Chief Rob Dahlman.

Counterclaims in court documents filed Wednesday, Aug. 21, by the Law Office of Brett Mersereau, maintain that defendants NLFR, Dahlman, former chief Doug Kerr and firefighters Dennis Miles, Eric Maestas and David Bickerdyke admit:

— The plaintiff witnessed the aftermath of a prank intended for another firefighter on about May 27, 2018;

— An August 2018 investigation deemed the prank in violation of NLFR policies and that discipline was imposed on employees as a result of the findings;

— The plaintiff last worked for NLFR on Sept. 7, 2018, and voluntarily left his job following an off-work injury and series of medical and personal absences.

The lawsuit maintains the plaintiff’s employment claim is subject to dismissal because the statute does not apply due to NLFR’s status as a public body.

The papers further indicate that the defendants “deny each and every other allegation, matter and thing set forth in plaintiff’s complaint.”

ANSWER AND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

Court documents filed in Lincoln County Circuit Court by the firm Ersoff and Zantello on Rialtos’ behalf allege sexual discrimination and harassment by several local firefighters and claim “a clear form of retaliatory behavior” against Rialtos, who the papers claim was fired April 23.

The suit seeks judgments as follows:

Ordering Defendant FIRE DISTRICT to terminate Defendant DAHLMAN’s employment; Ordering Defendant FIRE DISTRICT to terminate Defendant MILES’ employment; Ordering Defendant FIRE DISTRICT to issue Defendant MAESTAS a written reprimand, which should be kept in Defendant MAESTAS’ permanent personnel file; Ordering Defendant FIRE DISTRICT to issue Defendant BICKERDYKE a written reprimand, which should be kept in Defendant BICKERDYKE’s permanent personnel file.

As a direct and foreseeable result of Defendants’ discrimination, Plaintiff suffered economic loss from lost wages of at least $126,240. As a direct and foreseeable result of Defendants’ discrimination, Plaintiff suffered non-economic damages including anxiety, worry, distress, embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of esteem valued at not less than $1,873,760.

According to a report by private investigator D. Craig Stoelk of Stoelk Investigation and Consultation, LLC, of Salem, four incidents of alleged indiscretion in violation of employee policy against a worker occurred:

On May 28, 2018, members of North Lincoln Fire and Rescue District #1 sexually harassed Philip Rilatos by putting up a poster in Mr. Rilatos’ dorm stating “the Homo is here.” They also filled Mr. Rilatos’ dorm with pink balloons and a large number of sanitary napkins with the appearance of being used. North Lincoln Fire and Rescue failed to supervise their employees, failed to enforce sexual harassment training and policies, and failed to resolve the sexual harassment;

On Aug. 21, 2018, following an investigation, D. Craig Stoelk issued a written report finding that the May 28, 2018, incident was sexual harassment and constituted “a violation of the employer’s policy related to harassment.” Mr. Stoelk also found that North Lincoln Fire and Rescue “failed to conduct a proper/thorough harassment investigation as outlined by the employer’s policy.” Mr. Stoelk further found that North Lincoln Fire and Rescue’s “shunning” of Mr. Rilatos after Mr. Rilatos reported the May 28, 2018 incident “is a clear form of retaliatory behavior;”

On April 18, 2019, after months of repeated oral and written requests, as well as a public records request, North Lincoln Fire and Rescue finally allowed Mr. Rilatos to examine the August 21, 2018 report via his attorney, but would not allow Mr. Rilatos to retain a copy. April 18, 2019, is the first day Mr. Rilatos had knowledge (1) that his sexual harassment claim from May 28, 2018, was substantiated; (2) that North Lincoln Fire and Rescue’s own investigation was improper; and (3) that North Lincoln Fire and Rescue’s retaliatory behavior against Mr. Rilatos was substantiated;

On April 23, 2019, North Lincoln Fire and Rescue terminated Mr. Rilatos’ employment as further retaliation for reporting a substantiated sexual harassment claim.

CLICK TO VIEW COMPLAINT

CLICK TO VIEW MEMORANDUM

- Advertisement -
Avatar
Justin Werner & Jim Fossumhttps://lincolncityhomepage.com
This article was written and edited to comply with Associated Press style and professional journalism standards by Homepage's publisher and executive editor.

Related articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Comment with Facebook