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Austin fire department prevails in gender bias lawsuit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Following two days of deliberation, a Travis County jury has ruled against an Austin firefighter who accused the Austin Fire Department of discrimination.

Nona Allen, a probationary officer who was the first woman assigned to her fire station in six years, alleged that her locker room was bare while the men’s locker room contained furniture, books, games and vending machines. Allen put a chair and desk in the room, but they were taken away.

After she complained, Allen alleged, supervisors told her the administration had ordered the furniture removed from the room.

In 2008, Allen sued the city for gender discrimination. During the trial, an assistant city attorney argued that Allen never specifically alleged that she was harassed based on gender and that the events she objected to were merely hazing.

Reflecting on the verdict against Allen, her attorney said the jurors agreed that Allen had been harassed, but it split on whether a hostile work environment affected the terms and conditions of Allen’s employment.

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