Trans fire chief threatens lawsuit over ‘discriminatory’ firing

A transgender former fire chief in Byron, Ga., is threatening a lawsuit against the city if she’s not reinstated to the job by the end of the week.

The city said performance issues caused them to fire Rachel Mosby on June 4 after 11 years as fire chief. Mosby’s attorney denied the city’s claims and said that the firing “completely destroyed” her reputation, according to a letter he sent to City Attorney Tom Richardson on Wednesday. Mosby (photo) was the nation’s first openly trans fire chief.

Mosby’s attorney said she was entitled to a “public name clearing” hearing but called it "a fruitless endeavor."

“There is no apparent benefit to participating in such a hearing, as the express purpose is to provide an opportunity to clear an individual’s ‘name, reputation, and integrity,’” Ken Barton of Cooper, Barton & Cooper wrote in the letter to the city attorney. “The termination of Chief Mosby has completely destroyed her reputation, especially due to the vast amount of media attention, and the fact that a city employee caused the termination letter to be emailed to hundreds of fire personnel across the State of Georgia.”

Barton said there’s nothing the hearing “can do to come close to repairing the damage the city has done to her reputation."

If Mosby had been fired prior to January, she could have appealed her termination. But the Byron City Council in January revised the city’s personnel policy and removed the ability for department heads to appeal disciplinary action or termination, according to the letter.

Barton demanded that Mosby be reinstated to her job by Friday and that she be repaid any salary, wages and other compensation lost since being fired. 

Barton said the city’s actions were a violation of Mosby’s Title VII rights of the U.S. Constitution, as well as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Barton said Mosby is preparing a discrimination charge against the city with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

“Moreover, Chief Mosby will pursue any other claims that may be available to her, including any constitutional claims for the city’s denial of her right to due process,” Barton wrote.

Richardson did not respond to Project Q's questions about Barton's letter.