Illinois Rescue Squad Sued for Retaliation and Discrimination
Former paramedic Dawn Reid is suing the district, including Chief Barry Beckwith, claiming retaliation and discrimination. She alleges that male employees were treated more favorably than female employees continually throughout 2007 and 2008. The lawsuit also alleges that female employees were referred to as “broads” or F*** broads,” among other allegations.
Reid was suspended and fired from her job in January 2008 without any formal reason, which is the basis for the retaliation claim. Beckwith was suspended with pay for six days in March, pending an investigation by the Rescue Squad District’s board of trustees.
Former Deputy Chief Todd Jones also is suing the district for allegedly being demoted after he complained about the discrimination in early 2008. According to the lawsuit, a demotion to the position of emergency medical technician was ordered after Beckwith had found out that Jones consulted with a lawyer about filing a claim for retaliation.
Thiersch said a third complaint for sex discrimination was expected to be filed by another former female paramedic later this week. Jones then was “continually berated, demeaned and harassed” until he was forced to take a voluntary leave of absence and discharged in June 2008, the lawsuit said.
“Treating women as second-class citizens – and demeaning them by calling them ‘broads’ – is intolerable,” plaintiffs’ attorney Alex Thiersch said in a news release. “But equally intolerable is punishing male employees who try to do the right thing by opposing this treatment.”
The lawsuit also alleges that men were promoted with more frequency than female employees, and the rescue squad “intentionally and maliciously” created situations where females would fail so they would be disciplined and eventually fired.
Reid began working as a Marengo Rescue Squad paramedic in September 2006. Beckwith was hired on as chief in May 2007