New York City Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh was a victim of an age discrimination suit. She claimed she targeted senior staff members with demotions and retaliation, as well as forced retirements.
According to a 53-page suit filed in Brooklyn’s state Supreme Court, first published by The New York Post, Kavanagh was sued by several high-ranking FDNY employees in their late 50s/early 60s for unspecified damages.
According to the lawsuit, staff were subjected to hostile and retaliatory work environments.
According to the lawsuit Kavanagh “sought to not only end, but literally destroy their long and distinguished careers.” He also tried to “replace Plaintiffs” and other senior employees by hiring younger people.
The lawsuit claims that the victims were targeted because of their near 60th birthdays.
The suit was filed by Joe Jardin, a former Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention in the FDNY, 62-year old assistant Chief of Operations Michael Gala, and Michael Massucci (59), Chief of Uniformed Personnel Michael Massucci.
This complaint is the result of a 36-page lawsuit filed in Feb. Kavanagh was accused of acting as a “political operator” by degrading and reassigning staff heads at the expense public safety.
According to the filing, a February 6 New York Daily News article quotes anonymous sources saying that Schaaf “resisted the transfer and disciplining of some firefighters” after “allegations of racist behavior” were made in Queens firehouse. Jardin was also the subject of “a series of complaints” with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity for his “tough-guy management style” and Gala was considered a “divisive” element within the department.
According to the lawsuit, Kavanagh was a “political operative” who worked on campaigns before joining FDNY in 2014. He never had a day as a firefighter.
“Respondent Kavanagh does not have any experience fighting fires. He worked on the civilian side before becoming Commissioner.”
In October 2022, Mayor Eric Adams appointed Kavanagh as commissioner of the FDNY.
In an interview with Spectrum News, Kavanagh addressed criticisms she received about demotions of top officials in the department before the lawsuit was filed.
The commissioner stated that sometimes people forget that I’m new, even though I have been with the department for nearly a decade. However, I’m only a few months into mine tenure and want my own team.
“Every commissioner has had to change their team, so it’s been quite a while. It seems like it’s new because Commissioner Daniel Nigro has been there almost eight years.
Fox News Digital was told by a spokesperson for the city’s law department that they would review the case “once served”. Mayor Adams did not respond immediately to a request for comment.