Firefighter paid $220k over racial and religious harassment

25th Jan 2019
Firefighter paid $220k over racial  and religious harassment

(Photo: Jazz Guy/Wiki Commons)

Nadine Osman

A Muslim firefighter who claims he was subjected to harassment over his faith and race has settled his lawsuit against New York City on January 5.

The city settled with Raheem Hassan, 31, for $224,000. Hassan claimed he was fed pork and harassed but Fire Department did not admit to wrongdoing.
Hassan also settled with his former supervisor at the Brooklyn station Lt David Hughes, who agreed to pay over $1,000.

Hassan complained that he had been bullied since the summer of 2015. He accused New York City Fire Department colleagues of serving him pasta sauce spiked with pork and cooking his food in bacon grease. Hassan also complained that fellow firefighters took photos of their genitals next to his face while he slept and then texted them to him.

The feud reached its climax on December 20, 2017, when Hassan telephoned Hughes, who called the police and claimed Hassan told him, “I’m going to kill the guys in the firehouse.”

Hassan told cops: “All I did was call my fire officer and tell him I wanted to hurt myself and the people hurting me,” records show.

The threat shut down the firehouse that day, and Hassan was charged with misdemeanour aggravated harassment. Last February, the Staten Island District Attorney granted him a deal in which the charge would be dropped and the case sealed if he stayed out of trouble for six months and continued counselling.

A spokesman at City of New York Nicholas Paolucci said the settlement “was in the best interests of the city” However, Hassan’s lawyer, Aymen Aboushi, told the New York Post the settlement “is an acknowledgement that Hassan was subject to an inappropriate work environment.

“The fact that Hughes had to pay proves Raheem did not do what he was accused of,” Aboushi said, referring to the report that Hassan threatened violence.

Hassan is “content” with the cash settlement and “thriving” in a new firehouse, Aboushi added.

Hassan’s lawsuit continues against two other defendants, firefighters Joe Lankford and Tommy Donovan, who, like Hughes, did not receive legal representation by the city.

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