A jury awarded $6.2 million on July 3 to a firefighter who said she was harassed because she is black and a lesbian. Brenda Lee claimed in her lawsuit against the Los Angeles Fire Department that, on the basis of her race and sexual orientation, her superiors made derogatory comments about her and forced her to perform strenuous exercises unsafely. She also alleged that someone at her firehouse put urine in her mouthwash.
The trial has entered a second phase involving possible punitive damages against Captain Christopher Hare, Lee’s former supervisor.
Two other firefighters in the lawsuit have already been awarded settlements on the basis of their claims that they became the victims of retaliation after they tried to support Lee.
Recently, there has been a string of settlements related to cases alleging discrimination and retaliation against women and minorities within the Los Angeles Fire Department.