Retired US Fire Lieutenant Wins Gender Discrimination Case
Lori Franchina’s harassment lasted years, with superiors ignoring her complaints.

Lori Franchina’s harassment lasted years, with superiors ignoring her complaints.

On Monday a federal court in Providence, Rhode Island, ruled in favour of retired Fire Lieutenant Lori Franchina in a gender discrimination and sexual harassment case against Providence.

The harassment – which consisted of rude nicknames, insubordination, and discrimination – lasted years according to Franchina, and in 2012, she sued in federal court before retiring in 2013. According to the suit, Franchina became the target of this harassment because she was a successful woman and lesbian moving up quickly through the Department ranks.

The suit, consisting of 19 pages, highlights the dozens of verbal and written complaints about the incidents, along with a restraining order Franchina took out against a fellow firefighter. While she says the entire department wasn’t involved, her complaints were ignored by superiors.

Franchina said, “It had an effect almost every day. It breaks you. It wears you down. You still try to come to work every day and do your job well.”

The lawsuit also includes descriptions of two incidents, one from 2009 and one from 2006, when male firefighters directly disobeyed Franchina’s directions.

The court awarded Franchina $806,000, including emotional and punitive damages, as well as future wages she would have had the opportunity to earn if she hadn’t retired early.

Franchina wants her triumph to shed light around the country that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibiting workplace discrimination, needs to be followed.

She 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.”