DC’s female firefighters file lawsuit alleging discrimination

Four female veteran firefighters have filed a lawsuit against DC Fire and EMS alleging racial and gender discrimination.

In the lawsuit, firefighters Jadonna Sanders, Shalonda Smith, Takeva Thomas and Bolatito Ajose — four African-American women — allege they were discriminated against in pay and promotions, OMCP reported.

“These four women are longtime and successful firefighters, but their tenure with DC Fire and Emergency (Medical) Services has been marked by patchwork treatment…there is a systemic and historical disregard for complaints black women at DC FEMS. They complain of being harassed or intimidated, they are ignored; they complain about disparate or unfair treatment, they are ignored,” their attorney Pam Keith told reporters.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks $2.5 million each.

The women, some of whom are certified paramedics, say they were denied a bonus, which other doctors received.

Fire Chief John Donnelly said he couldn’t comment on an ongoing lawsuit, but he defended the department’s practices.

“The department has a long history and a recent history of … hiring women, promoting women,” Donnelly told WTOP. “These things (the women’s allegations) seem foreign to me, but we will look into them.”

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