Four lawsuits have been filed against the City of Everett by firefighters who claim they were sexually harassed by a fire academy instructor who is already being sued for sexual harassment. The four male firefighters filed separate suits in Snohomish County Superior Court claiming the city of failing to address harassment perpetrated by Chau Nguyen.
Nguyen is already facing a suit filed last November by a South County firefighter. The suit claims that Nguyen harassed him and other academy recruits while they were in training at the Snohomish County Fire Training Academy in 2019. Nguyen has since resigned from the Everett Fire Department. He had been a firefighter with the City of Everett since 2018. He was apparently allowed to serve as an instructor at the county academy despite only having been on the job in Everett for one year. More on that suit.
Copies of the four complaints are not available, but all were filed the same day by the law firm of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala. The Seattle Times quoted from the complaints as follows:
- “Nguyen’s sexual harassment of subordinates, recruit firefighters, and employees was severe and pervasive.”
- “[The city] failed to take reasonably prompt and adequate corrective action to address Nguyen’s behavior.”
- “[Nguyen] took advantage of subordinate, probationary employees who were less likely to complain to management given their employment status.”
The Times also reported some of the complaints contains reports of sexual remarks, flirtations, sexual advances, and physical contact of a sexual nature. The city reportedly failed to promptly recognize and stop the harm from occurring. All four men allege they suffer from emotional distress, anxiety and trauma. More on the story.