Nebraska Fire Department Settles Two Gender Discrimination Suits for $900k

The city of Lincoln has settled two gender discrimination suits brought by female firefighters totaling $900,000.  The suits were brought by firefighter Amanda Benson in 2018 and Jessie Lundvall in 2022. Those suits were intertwined with previously settled suits brought by Brian Giles and Troy Hurd.

Benson’s suit was settled for $650,000, while Lindvall’s suit was settled for $250,000. Giles’s suit was settled in 2020 for $280,000 and Hurd’s suit resulted in a jury verdict of $1.2 million, later reduced to $600,000. Both Giles and Hurd claimed they were retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment.

The Star Herald quoted from a written statement issued City Attorney Yohance Christie as saying:

  • The city does not tolerate discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
  • We have strong anti-discrimination policies and work continuously to foster a safe and inclusive workplace.

Benson, through her attorney, was quoted as saying:

  • Every taxpayer in Lincoln should be furious at the willingness of the city and the mayor to spend tax dollars on legal battles instead of fixing the longstanding problems.
  • This was my life. This was my livelihood. I was proud to serve the citizens of Lincoln. I was proud to wear the uniform.
  • No one deserves to go through what I did. I hope my efforts have made a difference for other female first responders.

Lundvall, through her attorney, was quoted as saying:

  • This experience was extremely difficult and costly for me and my family.
  • Unfortunately, some of those costs have been passed onto Lincoln’s hardworking taxpayers.
  • I pray no one else will ever have to experience what I did and hope the leaders of this city take the corrective actions necessary to improve for all of LFR’s employees and not repeat the past.

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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