Omaha Settles Race-Gender Discrimination Suit for $275k

The City of Omaha has agreed to settle a race and gender discrimination suit brought in 2021 by a firefighter for $275,000. Jane Crudup claims she was harassed and discriminated starting shortly after she was hired in 2019.

Crudup, who is Black, claimed at her first probationary assignment, a white officer told her she could not study until after 8PM. She claimed that during her next assignment a white firefighter was allowed to study before 8PM constituting disparate treatment.

She also claimed a white officer told her to “shut up and listen to what others are trying to say,” and later “you need to learn how to take a joke and laugh at yourself, if you want to have some longevity with the Fire Department.”

The centerpiece of her claims involved an incident where her turnout gear was hung from a flagpole, which she claimed was a symbolic “lynching.” She was further upset when an investigation concluded her complaint was unfounded because the flagpole incident was a common practice (hazing of probationary firefighters who left their gear behind in violation of department policy). Here is earlier coverage including a copy of the complaint.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, the jury trial had just begun when the settlement was reached. More on the settlement.

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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