Iowa Firefighter Sues Claiming Sexual Harassment

A female firefighter in Dubuque, Iowa has filed suit accusing the department of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation. Jami Boss filed suit in Dubuque County District Court claiming violations of the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

Boss, a firefighter since 2011, claims the harassment has been going on for years. She alleges that her relationship with male firefighters worsened after she cooperated with an investigation into a captain who was accused of making inappropriate comments to an intern.  

The suit names the City of Dubuque and Fire Chief Rick Steines as defendants.  A copy of the complaint was not available, but the Des Moines Register listed several of the allegations, including:

  • That a lieutenant told Boss that the only reason she was hired was her gender, that women do not belong in the fire service, and that he felt uncomfortable working with her;
  • That male firefighters routinely use the women’s bathroom, and have walked on in Boss when she was using it;
  • That a male firefighter put his hand “down the back of her pants between her buttocks”; and
  • Male firefighters failed to assist her at a fire scene

Boss also claims the city has subjected her to repeated inquiries into her residency. More on the story.

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.
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