Fired firefighters sue Cherokee County for $2 million

Two Cherokee County firefighters who were fired last year are suing the county for no less than $2 million, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

Former captains Chuck Foster and Mike Malone were employed with Cherokee County for 21 and 26 years, respectively. Last year, they were part of an investigation that began in October into allegations of misconduct.

The former captains say in the lawsuit filed May 8 that their constitutional rights were violated by the internal investigation that the lawsuit calls a “farce.”

Foster was accused of sexual harassment, allegations which the lawsuit claims were false and malicious.

The woman who alleged the sexual harassment is listed as a defendant.

Additional defendants include Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather, Human Resource Manager Lori Thompson and Cherokee County Manager Jerry Cooper.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not name victims of alleged sexual assault.

According to a 256-page report from the county attorney’s office that details the investigation, Malone took a photo in March 2014 of two firefighters engaged in a lewd act while in uniform at station No. 1 along Bells Ferry Road.

The lawsuit states “Even if Plaintiff had been guilty of some of the claims by (defendant), he would have been subjected to far less discipline than termination.”

Foster and Malone are asking for a jury trial and seeking compensatory and punitive damages of “not less than $2 million,” the lawsuit states.

The former employees also claim their reputations were damaged as were their abilities to continue in their chosen careers.

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