An ex-firefighter has been handed a huge payout after suing her former employer for homophobic harassment.
Lori Franchina, who is openly gay, had filed a discrimination case in the US District Court of Rhode Island, against both the City of Providence and the local firefighters union.
According to the lawsuit, Ms Franchina was the victim of a sustained bullying campaign because of her sexuality and gender.
It states she was “subjected her to such intense, constant, and prolific mistreatment that she eventually was left in multiple situations in which her safety was compromised.”
The officer began working as a firefighter in 2005, and suffered problems since 2005.
She says she was nicknamed “Frangina”, while others pinched her nipples, ignored her directions or even failed to respond to emergencies.
Ms Franchina was awarded a record payout this week, after claiming she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the harassment. She has been on sick leave since 2012.
The payout includes $545,000 in lost wages, $161,000 in emotional damages, and $100,000 for punitive damages.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza told QPRI: “We’ll be appealing the case and this will ultimately be decided sometime down the road.”
“For now, we’re letting the legal process run its course and we’ll wait and see what the appeals court actually decide.”
Ms Franchina said: “Hazing, bullying, things of that nature…they need to step in immediately and take immediate action. It’s really important to make all classes, all races protected.”