Former firefighter sues Petaluma, alleges passionate harassment

December 8, 2014 - Finding Carter

Petaluma’s usually womanlike firefighter, who quiescent in May, is suing a city in Sonoma County Superior Court, alleging passionate harassment.

Andrea Waters, 35, is seeking detriment of salary and other vague financial indemnification for harassment, taste and plea she claims she suffered commencement shortly after she was hired in 2008 until final year.

Only a second womanlike firefighter in a dialect — and a initial in roughly 40 years — Waters kick out 250 other field to fill a firefighter-paramedic opening. She came from Tucson, Ariz., where she had 5½ years of experience.

Her suit, filed final month, claims that “beginning roughly immediately, (Waters) was subjected to nuisance and taste formed on her sex. Indeed, even before her initial day of work she was told difference to a outcome that there were people in a Fire Department who did not wish her there and that she should watch her back.”

The city hasn’t filed a grave response to a claims. Discovery, where any side exchanges information, depositions and hearings, could start subsequent year, along with intervention hearings.

Neither City Attorney Eric Danly nor Waters’ attorney, Deborah Kochan of Berkeley, could be reached Friday.

The city has pronounced it will control a possess examination of a complaint. City Council members discussed a fit in sealed event final month.

The fit claims Waters was treated as a “second-class citizen” in a differently masculine department, that has about 40 firefighters. Waters was paid about $118,000 in pay, overtime and other pay, according to a state’s open worker compensate database.

The fit says Waters was denied training supposing to masculine dialect members, her opening was hyper-scrutinized, criticisms about her work were built and she was hold to irrational standards that her masculine counterparts were not.

She also alleges she was denied trades in work shifts, wasn’t supposing a showering trickery or changing and sleeping area private from a men, and that she was forced to wait to use a comforts during times when her masculine co-workers did not wish to use them.

“Even so, she was still walked in on and done to feel uncomfortable,” a fit claims.

At other times, when she complained that she was being singled out, she was retaliated against, she alleges. She pronounced she perceived her first-ever disastrous examination and that her administrator mocked and flustered her.

The fit doesn’t privately report any particular incidents or either she reported a purported activity to dialect leaders or a city’s tellurian resources department.

As a outcome of a diagnosis and stress, she claims, she was forced to go on leave. Ultimately, she quit in May.

In a 2012 underline story on her in a Petaluma Argus-Courier, Waters, who competed in triathlons, pronounced she wasn’t “cut any tardy since she is a woman, nor would she wish to be.”

A corps chief’s mother done fate to assign off private areas for Waters, a story said, and “we worked out a lavatory conditions so that she could have remoteness and it was no problem. It’s only common goodness and we wish to make everybody feel comfortable.”

Fire Chief Larry Andersen was quoted during a time observant Waters was intelligent, had good travel smarts and was well-respected by her colleagues.

The fit alleges a function combined a antagonistic work environment, gender taste and retaliation, all violations of a California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The fit seeks financial indemnification associated to detriment of pay, interest, attorney’s costs and other fees.

You can strech Staff Writer Lori A. Carter during 762-7297 or lori.carter On Twitter @loriacarter.

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