Kentucky Captain Sues For Gender Discrimination

A Kentucky fire captain has filed suit against her department alleging gender-based discrimination over disciplinary charges that were filed against her last year.

Middletown Fire Protection District Captain Natalie Taylor was suspended last December over comments she made about the department’s leadership at a November 20, 2014 officer’s training session.

According to the complaint, the training session was conducted by Fire Chief Michael Morgan, President of the Kentucky Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Chief of the Union County Emergency Services District. Chief Morgan reportedly invited Captain Taylor to express her opinions, which she did.

She was suspended on December 3, 2014 and charged with making “disparaging, disrespectful and inappropriate remarks about her subordinates, peers, and superior officers of the District while claiming to represent the views of other members and officers of the District.”

Three and one-half months later Captain Taylor prevailed at a disciplinary hearing before the district’s Board of Trustees. The complaint characterized the outcome of the hearing as Captain Taylor being “completely vindicated”, with an award of back pay and benefits making her whole.

After winning at a disciplinary hearing Captain Taylor claims that she was given an unfavorable personnel evaluation, transferred three times in nine months, and otherwise subjected to a “negative environment” on account of her gender.

Here is a copy of the complaint, which was filed November 10, 2015 in Jefferson Circuit Court: Taylor v Middletown FPD

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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