The State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division has ruled unanimously in favor of the City of Utica in a lawsuit brought by a former Utica firefighter.

Richard Forte was suspended without pay and later terminated after engaging in a lewd act against a female firefighter.

The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 32 appealed his termination.

An arbitrator heard the case and upheld the City’s decision.

Forte also claimed he was entitled to be paid for the time he was suspended.

The City contended Forte caused delays in the arbitration process and was not entitled to be paid during that time.

The State Supreme Court agreed with the City’s decision, and as a result of the ruling, the City does not have to pay Forte $30,000.

Mayor Robert Palmieri said, “The City of Utica has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and we made the right decision in terminating Mr. Forte.  I am pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling as the city taxpayers should not have to compensate individuals who engage in egregious and inappropriate behavior.”


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