PCVA attorneys Michael Pfau, Mallory Allen and Alyssa Nevala are representing five firefighters who filed suit alleging sexual harassment and abuse by fellow firefighter Chau Nguyen.
Chau Nguyen was employed by the City of Everett Fire Department in Washington State. He graduated from the Snohomish County Fire Training Academy in 2018 and then became an instructor and supervisor. In his role as a trainer, Nguyen took advantage of his position of authority, targeting recruits and probationary firefighters who were his subordinates. This imbalanced power dynamic created a situation where the men subjected to his abuse were reluctant to complain out of fear of losing their jobs.
“The department breached its duty to provide a safe work environment for its employees,” said Mallory Allen. “The victims are speaking up and letting the department know that by ignoring the complaints, and the open and obvious behavior of Nguyen they allowed this behavior to continue and allowed others to be harmed by Nguyen.”
Despite receiving complaints in 2019, the City of Everett Fire Department did not take reports of abuse and harassment seriously and allowed Nguyen to remain in a position of authority until he voluntarily resigned in January 2022, at which time the department abandoned its investigation into his misconduct.
PCVA previously filed a lawsuit on behalf of a fifth firefighter who suffered sexual abuse and harassment by Chau Nguyen. We believe there are other firefighters and recruits who experienced sexual harassment by Nguyen, and we urge them to contact us.
Media coverage about the lawsuit:
Lawsuits: Everett allowed fire trainer to continue after abuse claims, Everett Herald, 4/8/23
4 firefighters sue city, claiming sexual harassment, abuse while working for Everett Fire Department, KIRO7, 4/11/23
4 firefighters sue city, claiming sexual harassment, abuse while working for Everett Fire Department, Yahoo News, 4/11/23
Firefighters sue Everett, allege trainer sexually harassed them, Seattle Times, 4/13/23
Firefighters sue Everett, allege trainer sexually harassed them, The Columbian, 4/13/23
Firefighters Sue WA City, Allege Trainer Sexually Harassed Them, Fire Engineering, 4/14/23