Kentucky Medic Alleges Harassment and Retaliation

A Kentucky medic has filed suit claiming she was forced to resign after she complained about sexual harassment, and that the fire department violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act. Jamie Keith filed suit against Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department and “Louisville Metro” in US District Court

Keith, who claims she suffers from Major Depressive Order, Anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, alleges that she was subjected to sexually harassing behaviors from several colleagues and officers shortly after she was hired in 2019. She alleges that when she initially reported her complaints, a chief told her “this shift isn’t used to working with females,” but failed to address the allegations.

As her employment continued, Keith continued to experience and report sexual harassment. By early 2020, her superiors “blamed the wrongful actions of the other employees on Keith, and stated it was just, ‘personality differences’”.

In August, 2020, Keith participated in an investigation into an allegation that a captain and a subordinate has sex while on duty. Thereafter she was told her bosses “did not believe that she was fit for duty, alleging that Keith’s mental health issues were allegedly having an impact on her performance as an EMT Paramedic.” She was told she would need a “fit for duty” clearance, and that the department was not willing to consider any accommodations for her disability, thereby forcing her to take FMLA leave.

In January, 2021, disciplinary charges were filed against Keith. She opted to resign on February 4, 2021, which she characterizes as a “constructive discharge.” The suit alleges sexual harassment under state and federal law, retaliation under state and federal law, disability discrimination under state and federal law, and FMLA retaliation.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

It is not clear why Louisville Metro was named in the suit as Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District appears to be a separate entity.

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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