Current Affairs

Massive discrimination award for black lesbian firefighter

Celine Casey July 5, 2007
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A fire fighter who was harassed at work for being blakck, a woman and a lesbian was awarded $7.2m by a jury in her lawsuit against the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Brenda Lee said that because of her race, gender and sexual orientation she was forced to do grueling exercises without proper precautions and was also at the end of offensive comments from department bosses.

The harassment and mistreatment included someone mixing urine with her mouthwash, she said.

The court ruled in Brenda Lee’s favour in one of the largest in a long line of recent settlement cases alleging discrimination and retaliation against women and minorities within the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The panel was back to the courts on Thursday for a second round on Lee’s trial involving Captain Christopher Hare.

If penal damages are considered by the jury, it could mean Lee will be awarded more for the alleged discrimination she endured.

Rob Kitson, a lawyer for Lee, did not comment as the case is ongoing.

The city would “review its options going forward,” said Jonathan Diamond, spokesman for city attorney’s office.

Two other firefighters also won awards from the jury on the grounds of discrimination and were tried separately.

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