Brookline was wrong to fire Gerald Alston, SJC affirms

Shortly after the Supreme Judicial Court released its decision Tuesday, one of Gerald Alston’s daughters called him in tears, saying, “Daddy, you did it.”

The state’s highest court had just ruled the Town of Brookline unjustly fired Alston, a firefighter, after he complained of racial bias in the workplace. The decision was a landmark moment in a case that has affected both Alston and his family for years, he said Tuesday.  

The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a 2019 ruling from the state Civil Service Commission, which determined the town acted in bad faith in firing Alston and ordered the firefighter reinstated. The commission’s decision was later upheld in Suffolk Superior Court in 2019, and Alston was reinstated and given back pay, though he has not returned to work.

More:Brookline firefighter Alston’s case reaches Supreme Judicial Court

Brookline firefighter Gerald Alston speaking to a crowd of hundreds at Amory Park, following a June 5 Black lives matter march down the length of Beacon Street.

More:Judge to Brookline: ‘Give Alston his job back’

The TAB has reached out to the town for comment.

Alston’s case dates back to 2010, when a Brookline Fire Department superior left him a voicemail using the “n-word.” Alston, who is Black, was placed on paid leave in 2013 after the town claimed he made threatening comments at work, and Alston filed a federal discrimination suit against the town in 2015, alleging a culture of racism and retaliation. 

More:Alston case: Federal judge rules in Brookline’s favor

The town fired him in 2016, claiming Alston refused to cooperate and comply with return-to-work conditions.

Read More:Brookline was wrong to fire Gerald Alston, SJC affirms