5 female paramedics awarded $1.8M in Chicago sexual harassment case

A Chicago Fire Department audit found more than half of female paramedics were sexually harassed on the job


By Jessie Forand

CHICAGO — In a settlement with the city of Chicago, five female paramedics will receive $1.825 million.

The five women, whose names have not been revealed publicly, filed a 2018 suit alleging the fire department "ignored sexual harassment complaints and failed to conduct meaningful investigations of alleged sex discrimination," NBC News reported. 

The 57-page suit filing alleged a long-standing culture of sexual harassment.
The 57-page suit filing alleged a long-standing culture of sexual harassment. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

RELATED: $1.83M sexual harassment lawsuit by 5 Chicago paramedics advances

In a press release, the women's lawyers said the City Council approved the payment. 

Allegations included:

  • A paramedic reported her ex-boyfriend, another fire department employee, for stalking and faced retaliation
  • A supervisor pressured one woman for sex
  • An ambulance commander grabbed one woman and forced her to grab his genitals

According to NBC News, the plaintiffs and their legal team received funding from the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.

Sharyn Tajani, the fund's director, released a statement saying, "We are very proud to have been able to help in this case. These paramedics want to do their job and help the community; enduring sex harassment should not be the cost of doing their jobs."

The Chicago Fire Department did not provide NBC News with a comment. 

During litigation, an audit of the fire department found that 62% of female paramedics encountered sexual harassment while on the job. 

“Based upon the inspector general’s report, which confirmed widespread discrimination and harassment, and the implementation of a new female-led administration, we are optimistic that change will come from the top,” said attorney Tom Cramer.

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