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Home > Topics > Fire-EMS

Woman suing Calif. city over responder job

Brittany McMahon believes she was denied chance to be firefighter paramedic in Carlsbad because of her gender


CARLSBAD, Calif. — A former San Diego State University student who was supposed to make history with the Carlsbad Fire Department said her chance to be the city's first female firefighter ended in controversy.

Brittany McMahon believes she was denied the chance to be a firefighter paramedic in Carlsbad because she is a woman.

"It was like, 'How could this be happening right now? How could you be okay doing this?'" she said.

Full story: Woman To Sue City Of Carlsbad Over Firefighting Job

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Jason Oxford Jason Oxford Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:37:24 PM Do they have to give a reason to terminate a probationary FF?
Ruth Spencer Ruth Spencer Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:04:31 PM I thought California was an 'At will" state?
Kimberly Dugdale Kimberly Dugdale Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:16:32 AM I would do the same! Sue them girl.
Benjamin Scott Hostetter Benjamin Scott Hostetter Thursday, January 26, 2012 5:03:58 PM If you were sat down and presented two pieces of paper, termination or resignation wouldnt you want to know why?
Leo Robillard Leo Robillard Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:14:07 PM If she had signed the termination papers, I can see reason thrown out the window. But, if she was forced of hand (pressured) to sign one of two papers on the table (resignation over termination) as she stated, reason now becomes relevant. A critical thinker like her will make a great Medic. Carlsbad, Ca. may find a womans bathroom cheaper (if it meets Brittany's specks) than a two million dollar law suet. I'm with KD here, sue them girl!
Steve Whitehead Steve Whitehead Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:13:33 PM If her story is true this is going to sting a bit for the Carlsbad boys. And maybe it should. It sure sounds like she exemplifies the type of individual we need in the fire service.
Steve Whitehead Steve Whitehead Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:14:48 PM Why on earth wouldn't you?
Aiden Williams Aiden Williams Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:10:22 PM What an idiot. She is a complainer and whiner and was likely terminated because she wasn't a good fit for the department. A friend of mine had the same thing happen, and he's a guy. Many of the guys he worked with liked him, but he just wasn't a good fit for the organization and they gave him the choice. This girl playing the sex card just proves she would have been a bad person to hire. Talk about pathetic. I hope Santa Cruz terminates her too. She exemplifies what's wrong in America...stupid sue happy money mongering female.
Dan Greenhaus Dan Greenhaus Thursday, January 26, 2012 10:17:17 PM Without knowing all the details, all I will say is as a probationary firefighter, you can (generally) be terminated for any reason, and they don't need to give you the reasons. Generally not for being a woman, but I have a hunch there was something else that got her booted. Hopefully the city has their Ts crossed and I's dotted, because this is going to get ugly. And if she was indeed fired just because she was a woman, than I hope the city pays through the nose for their discriminiation.
Mackle Mart Mackle Mart Friday, January 27, 2012 12:46:35 PM I think it is going to be hard for her to prove that she was terminated due to the fact taht she was a woman. However, after having worked out of a firehall for that last few years, I can see potentially why it would happen. Fire departments are for the most part, old boys clubs. Manly men that consider their colleagues as another family. The problem is that when a woman enters into the department, the men feel as though there is change. They don't feel as though they can be themselves anymore. They have to watch the comments that they make and often, women do not feel part of the family because the others will act in a different manner around them. And firefighters that have been on the job for years and years, don't want someone coming in and making change. I personally do not believe this is right at all, but it is the culture of the job. And I am not saying that female firefighters should be the subject of sexual harrassment and inappropriate comments, but I think that they do need to understand that they are entering a culture that cannot be changed overnight. The men need to make an attempt to keep comments reasonable, and the women need to try their best to not be offended. This is going to take time though, but eventually, things will get better. Terminating someone due to the fact that they are a woman is completely wrong though, and you can't use the fact that they "don't fit in" as a reason to terminate them.
John Cork John Cork Saturday, January 28, 2012 3:18:28 PM I want to know why the hell Carlsbad has taken so long to hire a female firefighter to begin with? What exactly is wrong with you guys? I don't see her as a whiner, but I bet they saw her as a threat..and I find that pathetic. Instead of having her as an asset to the department they open themselves up to lawsuit by an able bodied female applicant. I'd be eager to hear their explanation, but I'm sure we won't get one. As with everyone else, I want documented reasons as to why she wasn't a "good fit".
Jim Breedon Jim Breedon Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:10:19 PM I thought we were professionals. We don't recognize gender and we stand together. A probational employee can be terminated, at any time for no reason. When management is stupid enough to lay down 2 letters and give an employee "the option." Management is wrong. What is a "good fit"? Good fit/Bad fit is not grounds for termination. Can I do the job? Do I pull my weight? Am I competent? If the answer to these question are in the affirmative, then the termination/forced resignation was wrong. Actually, forced resignation is termination. You seem quick to judge on limited evidence. I think the employee personnel file will be the determining factor. If there are no warnings, written reprimands, or disciplinary actions, in her file, the city will be hard pressed to defend their actions. If you provide care in the same way you judge your peers, please call someone else to care for me.
Aiden Williams Aiden Williams Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:48:37 PM Just because you stick up for her, doesn't mean you are going to get into her pants.
Erick Antonio Fonseca Erick Antonio Fonseca Tuesday, February 28, 2012 4:53:18 PM We live in the 21st century...

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