Four DC Firefighters Seek $10 Million for Race and Gender Discrimination

Four firefighters with the District of Columbia Fire & EMS have filed suit alleging race and gender discrimination. Jadonna Sanders, Shalonda Smith, Takeva Thomas and Bolatito Ajose are seeking damages of $10 Million.

The suit was filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia. Here is a quick overview of the case from the complaint:

  • Plaintiffs are four African American women firefighters, currently and recently assigned to the Fire Prevention Division of DC FEMS, who allege that they have been systematically and continuously discriminated against on the basis of their race and gender in the terms and conditions of employment, most especially with respect to disparate discipline, pay and promotional practices, and further allege that DC FEMS is a hostile work environment for Black women firefighters, maintaining a custom, pattern and practice of disfavoring Black women firefighters.
  • They further assert that the complaints they made to the DC FEMS EEO office about the way they were being treated were never taken seriously, and were essentially ignored.
  • As a direct and proximate cause of DC FEMS’ long-standing and historic pattern and practice of race and gender discrimination, Plaintiffs have suffered severe mental and emotional distress, and have suffered pecuniary losses for which they seek compensation herein.
  • They further ask the Court for injunctive relief to ensure that current and future Black women firefighters are no longer subjected to disparate terms and conditions of employment.
  • They seek compensatory relief an amount not less than $10,000,000, and for an appropriate ORDER granting the injunctive relief sought herein.

Here is a copy of the complaint:

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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