When Anthony Almeida's fellow firefighters learned that he had been sexually abused by a priest as a child, some apparently thought that was hilarious. It certainly proved great fodder for lewd jokes. But there's little to laugh at now -- as the Los Angeles City Fire Department recently agreed to pay Almeida nearly $500,000 in damages, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Almeida was a firefighter/engineer with the department for 26 years. He claims that his co-workers began tormenting him in 2006, when they discovered that he had filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Church because of the sexual abuse he had suffered as a child. He says that he reported the harassment to managers, but nothing was done. So in 2007, he filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging sex and religious discrimination.