Retired Fire Department Captain Urges Passing of Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Retired Bakersfield Fire Department Captain Derek Tisinger testified before California legislators on April 2, according to Firehouse, an online publication for firefighters. Tisinger, retired since 2009, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Sacramento in support of Senate Bill 404, and anti-discrimination bill.

The bill was introduced by state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and would provide protections for employees who need to care for young children, elderly parents or disabled family members. This is an issue that strikes close to home for Tissinger—he filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city of Bakersfield in 1997, although it was overturned in 2002. After a divorce left Tissinger with sole custody of his three children, he was forced to used all of his sick days to use time to care for them and was eventually passed over for a promotion to captain.

“It will all be worth it even if one person doesn’t have to go through what I went through,” said Tissinger. “All I was asking for was my promotion and my back wages. It was about the principle.”

Jackson explains that the bill will add family responsibility duties to other protected classes, such as racial groups, ethnicity, religious affiliation and sexual orientation. Employers would be prohibited from discriminating against employees who need to take time off to care for their family.

Do you think employees that need to care for family members are entitled to the same rights as all other protected classes? Please visit our site for more information on your workplace rights and contact our firm for a free consultation.

Tip of the week:  According to the EEOC, there were nearly 100,000 job bias charges filed in 2012.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles discrimination attorneys