A former FDNY firefighter has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Fire Department of New York alleging he was fired after being subjected to bullying and harassment targeting his race and perceived sexual orientation.
The New York Post reported Michael Troina, 25, claims his FDNY colleagues called him homophobic slurs, tried to coerce him to go to strip clubs to have sex with women to prove his manhood, made him “eat orange juice” from a fork from 12 different plates, and told him he couldn’t do the job like the white firefighters because he is Hispanic.
Those are just some of the many acts Troina claims he was subjected to between 2015 and 2016, before being fired from Ladder Co. 1/Engine Co. 7 in Tribeca in 2016 seven days before he would have completed probation. The FDNY says he was terminated after a “failed evaluation.”
When Troina reported the incidents to supervisors, he said he was told to “not take it too hard.”
The lawsuit, brought by attorney Paul Liggieri, names New York City, the FDNY, nine firefighters, three lieutenants, two chiefs, and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro as defendants. The suit says Troina told lieutenants about the harassment and that is why he was fired in December 2016.
“They made my client the pariah of the firehouse, and instead of acting like firefighters, they acted like fifth graders, doing nothing but discriminating against him on account of a perceived sexual orientation—which is certainly covered under the New York City law,” the former fire fighter’s attorney Paul Liggieri told WCBS 880.