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Petaluma receives sexual harassment claim from firefighter

The City of Petaluma might soon find itself in the middle of a court battle over the sexual harassment of a female firefighter. The woman, who was the first female firefighter in the department in over 30 years, says that she had to deal with crude comments about her body. The woman has since resigned but has retained a lawyer for her case.

When she was hired in 2008, the fire department made certain accommodations to try to make it easier for the woman to live in the all-male firehouse. Curtains were put around her bunk and locks were put on the bathroom doors. Some say that those accommodations weren't sufficient because the woman still had to hear her colleagues making comments of a sexual nature about her body while she would change in her bunk.

Because this woman's sexual harassment claims are against a government entity, she has had to file a claim. She actually filed two claims. One claim for unemployment and the other for sexual harassment. The city now has to respond to the claims she made. If they deny the claims, the woman can move on toward a lawsuit. The other option is for the city to settle the claims, which would likely involve a settlement payment.

Sexual harassment in California doesn't always have to involve physical touching. Just as in this woman's case, sexual harassment can sometimes include nothing more than comments of a sexual nature. Anyone who has been the victim of sexual harassment at the workplace can follow this woman's lead if he or she want to be compensated for the harassment.

Source:, "Sexual harassment suit looms for Petaluma" Emily Charrier, Jul. 31, 2014

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