The Dallas fire department has a new kind of fire to contain.
The highest-ranking civilian woman at Dallas Fire-Rescue is alleging that she was demoted recently after complaining about lewd e-mails and sexual harassment from higher-ups, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Leanne Siri filed a federal complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday. Another female firefighter reportedly filed an EEOC complaint alleging men urinated on her bedding and placed straight pins in it.
Sexual harassment is not always sexual in nature. It's not always about sexual innuendo or requests for sex. It's not always about grabbing and groping.
Illegal harassment comes in many forms, including non-sexualized bullying directed at someone simply because she is a woman. If the bullying is severe enough or pervasive enough to change the terms and conditions of employment, it doesn't matter if the harasser even acted in a sexual manner.
If female firefighters are being demoted for reporting harassment, the city should take the retaliation claims extremely seriously. Also, if it's true, urinating on the female firefighter's bed and needling it with straight pins sounds severe or pervasive to me, does it to you?
I'm not handling this particular case, but out of curiosity, what might you consider awarding if you were a juror and you believed she had proven that all of the allegations were true?