Mass Firefighter Sues for $2.75 Million Claiming Gender Discrimination

A Massachusetts firefighter is seeking $2.75 million in damages for sexual discrimination that led to her being passed over for promotion. Tracy Blanchette filed suit last week naming the City of Methuen and Fire Chief John T. Sheehy as defendants.

Blanchette, a 27-year veteran, claims she was wrongly passed over for promotion in 2019, in favor of a male firefighter who scored lower than her on assessment testing. That prompted her to file complaints with the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission and the state Commission Against Discrimination. Thereafter, she was ostracized within the Methuen Fire Department.

The suit seeks damages for lost wages, back pay, pension benefits and emotional distress. It was filed in Essex County Superior Court. A copy of the complaint is not available. More on the story.

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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