·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

City of Denver Settles Discrimination Suit Filed by Former Firefighter for $975K

— November 7, 2019

The City of Denver is paying close to $1 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by a former firefighter.

The City of Denver recently agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle a discrimination complaint with a former firefighter, Colley Fisher. According to the complaint, which was filed a little more than three years ago, Fisher was fired from her job as a captain with the Denver Fire Department after enduring years of gender discrimination and retaliation by her supervisors.

Image of the Denver, Colorado State Capitol
Denver, Colorado State Capitol; Image Courtesy of Pixabay,, CC0 Public Domain.

Fisher joined the fire department back in 1992 and filed her complaint in 2016. Included in the complaint were allegations that she was “discriminated against based on her gender while serving in the department and that she had been retaliated against by her supervisors when she filed complaints about the alleged discrimination.” For example, she claimed she was “disciplined heavily for rule violations that either never occurred or were exaggerated by supervisors, and that male colleagues that had violated more serious rules walked away with less punishment.” Additionally, she argued she was retaliated against after filing the complaints about her gender discrimination and that her “supervisors stripped her of her duties as commanding officer at the Broncos stadium, costing her $17,000 in yearly overtime wages.”

During the litigation process, a jury ruled in favor of Fisher after determining there was “enough evidence to conclude that the department had retaliated against her for her discrimination complaints.” As a result, the court ordered to the city to fork over $1.2 million. However, the City Attorney’s Office appealed the decision and eventually, the two parties agreed to a $975,000 settlement.

When commenting on the matter, John Culver, Fisher’s lawyer, said:

We think this is going to send a message to the city and fire department that the fire department has a problem with the way it treats its female employees. It’s frustrating that it took four years to get the city to finally do the right thing. This is a case that could’ve been settled four years ago for a fraction of what it settled for last night.”

This isn’t the first time the city has had to pay out sizeable settlements to settle complains, though. In fact, “complaints alleged against various agencies in Denver’s Department of Public Safety have regularly cost the city millions of dollars.” For example, back in 2014, the city settled a complaint with the family of Marvin Booker for $6 million after Booker died while in custody at a Denver jail back in 2010. Additionally, the city also paid out $1.55 million to fifteen former sheriff’s deputies who claimed the environment for women working at the Denver County Jail was hostile.


Denver Paying Nearly $1 Million for Firefighter’s Gender Discrimination Suit

Denver tees up nearly $1 million settlement for fired firefighter who claimed sex discrimination

Join the conversation!