Chicago Fire Investigating Harassment Charges At Fire Academy

The Chicago Fire Department is investigating claims by African American female firefighter-recruits that dog feces was smeared on a sweatshirt and a chair in their changing area at the fire academy. Their attorney claims the feces was someone’s way of saying “We don’t want you here.”

The feces was discovered last week in a changing room used by 13 female African-American firefighter candidates, all of whom are in their 40s and 50s. The candidates applied to the Chicago Fire Department 20 years ago, but were rejected. Following the settlement of two class action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination, the 13 women were admitted to the fire academy.

An attorney representing the candidates, Marni Willenson, said “It’s an unambiguous message: “We don’t want you here.” Whoever did this is saying, “We don’t want you here.'”

 

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
x

Check Also

Rochester Settles Firefighter’s Racism Suit

The sensational lawsuit by Rochester firefighter Jerrod Jones has been settled for $150,000, or $521,000, depending on your perspective. Jones claimed he was the victim of race discrimination that culminated in a white captain ordering him to attend a racist party in 2022 while on-duty.

Court Dismisses Chicago Firefighter’s Discrimination Claims But Retaliation Claims May Proceed

The discrimination claims brought by a Chicago firefighter have been dismissed, but the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois will allow her claims of retaliation to proceed. Lee Ann McKay filed suit against the city, the retirement board and five individual officers in 2021.