Five Chicago Fire Medics Sue For Sexual Harassment

Five female paramedics with the Chicago Fire Department filed suit today alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation. The five unnamed women were identified in the complaint as Jane Doe 1 through 5.

The complaint is long and quite detailed, with 456 numbered paragraphs taking up 57 pages. Four of the women accuse supervisors of harassing them, while one accuses a colleague who was a former boyfriend. The city is accused of having a “pattern or practice [that] has allowed sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation to be pervasive throughout its firehouses and facilities.”

The factual allegations include supervisors pressuring subordinates for sex; sexual assaults occurring on-duty; inappropriate comments and jokes; the failure of allegations against the harassers to be addressed; and retaliation against the women including rumor spreading, verbal beratings, breaches of confidence, and unwarranted disciplinary investigations.

The complaint was filed in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Both quid pro quo and hostile work environment claims are alleged. Here is a copy of the complaint: Jane Doe v CFD

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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