Fire and Rescue employee worker wins suit against City of Beaumon
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BEAUMONT, Texas — A Beaumont Fire and Rescue employee took legal action against the City of Beaumont, claiming he and his colleagues are not receiving fair treatment from the city.
(Editor's note: The above video is from an October 4, 2022 newscast about the lawsuit.)
Caleb Fenter is an employee with Beaumont Fire and Rescue. He claims that when the City of Beaumont moved the EMS division into the Beaumont Fire Department in 2021, he and his colleagues should have been sworn in as civil service employees.
Instead, they are still considered civilian employees.
Related: Beaumont Fire and Rescue employee worker suing city, believes he should be considered a civil service employee
Civilian employees work different hours under a different pay structure with fewer benefits. Civil service employees have more rights and benefits, including pay adjustments, insurance, and more time off.
With the support of the firefighter's union, Fenter lawyered up to fight for his rights. Taylor Miller, who is representing Fenter, said told 12News they won the suit at the trial level, and now, the City of Beaumont is appealing the judge's decision.
One of Miller's arguments was that according to Texas Local Government Code 143, an employee of the fire department whose primary duties are to provide emergency medical services is considered to be a firefighter.
Beaumont City Attorney Sharae Reed previously shared a statement with 12News that said in part, "Mr. Fenter has not met the state minimum qualifications to be a firefighter, nor does his position require a substantial knowledge of firefighting; thus, the city disagrees with his position."
In the statement, Reed also said that while she has the "utmost respect for the members of the EMS Division as well as the members of Beaumont Fire & Rescue," the outcome of the lawsuit would not change her position.
Miller said Fenter and other EMS workers save lives every day, work alongside firefighters, and constantly respond to emergency calls and believes it is time the workers got equal treatment from the city.Related: Beaumont Fire and Rescue employee worker suing city, believes he should be considered a civil service employee