Five female firefighters in conjunction with the Fairfax County Women Firefighters’ Association filed a lawsuit against Fairfax County, in the US District Court of Alexandria, VA, charging the fire department with a pattern of discrimination in its promotion, hiring, and housing dealings.
The lawsuit reported substandard facilities for the female firefighters, according to the Washington Post, including a converted urinal used as a women’s shower in one firehouse and a female bunk housed in a former closet that lacked heat for five years. Additionally, NBC4 News reported that the plaintiffs had been continually subject to sexually harassing comments and attitudes.
One of the plaintiffs told the Washington Post that her promotion to captain was postponed by a supervisor who had told her in recruit school that she wasn’t “the right image for the fire department. He said that when he pictured a fireman, he pictured someone who can break down a door and go rescue people.” The lawsuit seeks unnamed monetary damages and a mandate requiring equal facilities for female firefighters in Fairfax County.