A former firefighter recruit has settled with the San Diego City Council. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Nicole Pappas alleged she was wrongfully terminated after experiencing discrimination and harassment. She received a $275,000 settlement from the city.
Comments were made about her body
Pappas was a part of the 2015 firefighter recruitment class. She said members of her class talked about her weight, her body and posted lewd drawings in the locker room, as well as on social media. Pappas also claimed some of her male classmates pushed and shoved her.
Supervisors did nothing about harassment
In her academy class, there were 33 men, and she was one of three women. She also claimed that Fire Department supervisors observed the harassment and did nothing about it.
In the fall of 2016, Pappas broke her leg, which prevented her from completing her academy work. While on leave, she testified about her treatment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The new requirement was retaliation for her testimony
After she returned, the Fire Department had added a new requirement about running three miles in 24 minutes to get into the academy. Pappas had previously run three miles in under 24 minutes, but stated she believed the requirement was added after she returned as punishment.
After Pappas could not successfully complete the running requirement, she was fired.
The city has since removed the running requirement from academy admission.
California law protects workers from wrongful termination
Any employee that believes he or she has been wrongfully terminated has protection under California employment law. It is illegal to fire someone based on their sex, race, religion, disability, national origin, age or because she is pregnant. Employees may also be wrongfully terminated for refusing sexual advances or in retaliation. This is also illegal under California law.
You can seek justice against your former employer. Do not accept the unfair treatment you experienced.