The City of Selma, Texas has settled a discrimination lawsuit for $37,500. Capt. Jeff Moczygemba sued after he was fired. Capt. Moczygemba was one of the few firefighters to confirm to Human Resource investigators that the Fire Chief, Ric Braun, had made anti-Hispanic comments. Chief Braun had referred to "wetbacks" who used to clean up the work area. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court. The lawyer for the city indicates most of the settlement proceeds will be paid by insurance. Capt. Moczygemba had worked for the Selma Fire Department for ten years when he was fired in 2011. The Fire Department Chief remains employed by Selma. See San Antonio Express News report.
According to the Plaintiff’s Complaint, the Chief called Capt. Moczygemba into his office several times after the Captain met with the HR representative looking into the Fire Chief. The Chief berated him for cooperating with the investigation. The Chief threatened the Captain with termination. A few months later, the Chief fired Plaintiff Moczygemba a few months later for reasons that appeared to be false. Persons who cooperate in investigations of discrimination are protected from reprisal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Discrimination is difficult to prove. Retaliation for opposing discrimination is much easier. The Chief and, perhaps the City of Selma, Texas have learned a valuable lesson.