A federal jury took just four hours to award a former Providence Fire Department rescue officer $800,000 in damages for sexual harassment and retaliation.
Rescue Lieutenant Lori Franchina filed suit in 2012 claiming she had been subjected to numerous instances of sexual harassment and retaliation, including incidents where co-workers refused to assist her at emergency scenes.
According to Lt. Franchina’s attorney, John Martin, “There were several calls, emergency calls in which people were fighting for their lives. This lieutenant did not have the subordination or cooperation of her underlings, and it put people in jeopardy. I think that’s why the jury came back to quickly.”
The trial took two weeks to present, with the jury beginning its deliberations last Friday. The verdict was delivered this morning. Besides compensatory damages the award includes $100,000 in punitive damages. According to Martin, “One thing she cannot do without the help of a jury is make changes in this department because it’s unwilling to change by itself.”
The city is vowing to appeal.