Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas says the Los Angeles Fire Department has experienced a series of “divisive” workplace incidents in recent months, including at least one debate between firefighters over protests by NFL players.
In a two-page letter posted Friday, Terrazas said his agency has experienced “on-duty heated discussions regarding the perception of a lack of patriotism by NFL players” who have kneeled during the national anthem, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a separate incident, firefighters from different ethnic backgrounds had a “near physical altercation” after someone showed up late to work, Terrazas wrote, according to The Times. In yet another, the department received complaints about “a perceived lack of sensitivity” toward non-white firefighters during an investigation.
“These types of issues and incidents are divisive and can erode our ability to accomplish our collective mission to protect the lives and property of the people of Los Angeles,” the chief said in his letter, according to The Times. He added that he expects every firefighter to behave in a way that “fosters a professional and respectful workplace free of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and hazing.”
The letter, posted on the department’s internal messaging system, drew praise from Fire Commission President Delia Ibarra, who said it offered a reminder to employees to “treat each other respectfully” when discussing politics.
“It all sort of relates to the Trump effect, because people in workplaces are having political conversations with each other,” said Ibarra, an Eric Garcetti appointee, The Times reported. “It’s important that Chief Terrazas remind them about being civil. It’s all about civility and camaraderie.”
—City News Service
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