Settlement reached in South Georgia firefighter lawsuit - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Settlement reached in South Georgia firefighter lawsuit

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Three South Georgia firefighters won a federal lawsuit against their employer Tuesday. They hope it will bring about changes in their county.

Attorney Louis Hatcher filed suit against Decatur County for the firemen. Guy Yates, Steve Enfinger and the now deceased Captain Jimmy Bellflower were suspended without pay in 2005 after they reported that co-workers cheated on a state-mandated test.

They say they were also punished because they supported a discrimination lawsuit filed by Michele Lagace. She claimed she was denied a job because she was a woman. Hatcher says that started a barrage of cover-ups and deception at Decatur County Fire and Rescue.

"I can't speak to the souls of those folks that are down there perpetrating misconduct, that accuse people wrongfully, that would put people's property and lives in danger because they're so busy protecting the good old boy system. God will deal with their souls but I tell you what, an Albany jury dealt with their misconduct," said Hatcher.

The firefighters were awarded $750,000 in Albany federal court Tuesday. Lagace previously settled out of court for $175,000.

Hatcher says another lawsuit is in the works because a female firefighter finally hired by the county was sexually harassed so badly that she quit.

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