“Act like a slave”: Black girls sue Denver over alleged racial, gender discrimination in fireplace division


Two Black girls sued the town of Denver on Wednesday over allegations that members of the Denver Fireplace Division systematically discriminated in opposition to them each due to their gender and their race.
Da Lesha Allen and Charmaine Cassie say they unfairly confronted harder requirements and stricter scrutiny than their white male colleagues, and that colleagues and supervisors made racist feedback about their hair and our bodies and utilized racist stereotypes to the ladies after they joined the division in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
One fireplace captain advised Cassie that she would battle to get by the fireplace division’s coaching program due to the division’s tradition, and mentioned that she ought to “maintain her head down and act like a slave” in an effort to graduate from the coaching, in line with the lawsuit.
A lieutenant commented a number of instances on Cassie’s physique, together with declaring that she had a “massive butt,” in line with the federal lawsuit. In one other incident, a high-ranking firefighter advised Allen that she must determine the right way to get her hair into her helmet though he knew how “you folks wish to put all them issues in your hair,” in line with the lawsuit. Allen didn’t have something in her hair on the time.
Allen was fired after she filed a discrimination grievance, in line with the lawsuit. A metropolis inner affairs investigation into Allen’s complaints decided they have been “unfounded,” in line with the lawsuit. The lawsuit signifies Cassie remains to be with the division.
“The fireplace division has an enormous historical past of being the nice outdated boys community, and principally a white good outdated boys community,” mentioned David Lane, the ladies’s lawyer. “So girls firefighters get washed out of the academy on a routine foundation, and these girls are standing as much as it.”
The fireplace division employs nearly solely white males, in line with the lawsuit. Between 2016 and 2019, a mean 5% of workers have been Black. About 5% of workers have been girls, and fewer than 1% of workers have been Black girls, in line with the lawsuit.

Wednesday’s lawsuit is way from the primary time the fireplace division has confronted allegations of gender discrimination.
In 2019, the town payed practically $1 million to settle a discrimination case introduced by a former high-ranking firefighter who mentioned she was fired in retaliation for submitting two gender discrimination claims. Colley Fisher was awarded $975,000.
One other girl firefighter recruit sued the division in 2015 over sexual harassment and gender discrimination and was awarded $75,000.
A spokeswoman for Denver’s Division of Public Security didn’t instantly return a request for remark Thursday.


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