07/20/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan
Crisfield, MD—The Crisfield Fire Department was sued by a woman who applied to serve as a volunteer firefighter three times and was turned down just as many times. The plaintiff filed a gender discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, naming the fire department, the city of Crisfield as well as three firefighters as defendants, according to a Tuesday, July 20, 2010 Delmarva Now report.
The gender discrimination lawsuit contends Juanita Nelson first applied to be a volunteer firefighter in the Crisfield Fire Department in January 2008.
Upon doing so, she was informed that she did not qualify, given that she did not receive the two-thirds majority vote required to be a member.
However, Nelson went on to apply again in August 2008. Though she was turned down for a second time, she applied once again in February 2009.
After being turned down for a third time, she even went on to ask Fire Chief Bill Reynolds for a fourth application but was informed the fire department was not accepting new applicants at the time.
The lawsuit further alleges that while Nelson was told the fire department was not accepting new applicants, two males were allegedly admitted as members the month before.
Additionally, the suit claims member Ronnie Hinman called upon older, or inactive members of the department to participate in the admittance voting process.
According to the lawsuit, “One of them openly expressed that ‘if we let a female in here, it will never be the same again.’”
Members Ronnie Hinman, Larry Tyler and Charles Cavanaugh were named as defendants, along with the fire department and city of Crisfield.
On the other hand, the city’s attorney alleged, “The fire department and the city vehemently deny any misconduct or wrongdoing,” noting that the department has a democratic method of admitting new fire personnel.
Nelson was a member and volunteer EMT with the Crisfield-based Lower Somerset County Ambulance and Rescue Squad for a total of nine years. She also passed in the Top 10 of her firefighter training class.
The gender discrimination lawsuit seeks $3 million in compensatory damages, along with $1.5 million in punitive damages. The suit also seeks reparations to cover attorney fees and expenses.
The case continues.
Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Maryland Discrimination Lawyers.
Phone: (866) 598-1315