The City of Columbus has agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by city firefighter over her treatment while in the fire academy in 2019. The suit was originally filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, and later removed to US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
At the center of the case was the behavior of Battalion Chief Joe Richard, who was in charge of the training academy. Richard was named as a defendant in the suit and accused of attempting to coerce sexual favors from the victim. Attached below is a copy of the amended complaint that outlines the plaintiff’s allegations.
Richard was suspended while an investigation into his conduct unfolded. Three additional female employees came forward alleging he made sexually inappropriate comments to them as well. Richard opted to retire and the city refused to provide him with legal counsel.
The settlement calls for Richard to personally pay $25,000, with the city picking up the $225,000 balance to round out the settlement at $250,000.