Female firefighter sues city over workplace sexual harassment

Posted in Sexual Harassment,Sexual Harassment at Work on May 10, 2014

We have previously written that it is often very difficult for women to be accepted in jobs that are traditionally considered “men’s work.” This includes fields like law enforcement, construction and firefighting. Many women in these fields not only face obstacles like gender discrimination, they also commonly become victims of sexual harassment.

A recent example comes from New York (although the case is similar to ones that have happened here in California and other parts of the country). A woman in Schenectady, New York, has announced plans to file a lawsuit alleging that during her 14 years as a firefighter for the city, she suffered numerous unwanted sexual advancements, gender discrimination, retaliation and even death threats.

The woman alleges that after suffering a pattern of sexual harassment, she complained to superiors only to be met with apathy toward the allegations and apparent hostility toward her. They allegedly retaliated against her by passing her over for promotions.

On two occasions, the woman says, she found notes among her possessions that could reasonably be interpreted as death threats. Both were drawn pictures of a face with a bullet in its head. The first picture was placed in her locker and the second was left in one of her boots.

These types of alleged actions are sadly common toward women in many male-dominated workplaces. They should not be allowed to occur in any workplace, especially not in a government job paid for with taxpayer money. Hopefully, this and similar lawsuits will raise awareness of the problem in a way that brings about significant change.

Source: CBS 6 Albany, “Schdy firefighter claims sexual harassment and discrimination,” May 6, 2014