Toledo, firefighter, jury
A jury decided one Toledo, Ohio firefighter was discriminated against at work, while another was not, ending a fourteen-year case. (Photo via Toledo Fire Department)

Jury Decides One Toledo, Ohio Firefighter Faced Gender Discrimination, Another Did Not

In 2005, two Toledo, Ohio, firefighters filed a discrimination suit against the city, saying it failed to take action against gender discrimination they experienced on the job. Fourteen years later, a jury decided one firefighter, but not the other, was discriminated against.

Pvt. Judi Imhoff received $150,000 related to gender discrimination. But the jury denied retired captain Carla Stachura’s discrimination claims and denied both women’s claims of retaliation.

The original suit was asking for $1.35 million in damages, with Stachura seeking $750,000 and Imhoff seeking $600,000.

After being dismissed in 2008, the suit was refiled in 2017.

The plaintiffs said the discrimination they faced led Stachura to medically retire because of stress, and Imhoff to switch stations.

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Linda Jennings also dismissed the original command officers named as plaintiffs — chiefs Michael Bell and Michael Wolever and former deputy chiefs John Coleman and Robert Metzger — because of immunity, the Toledo Blade reports.

Pvt. Geraldine McCalland initially was a plaintiff in the case but withdrew.

During the hearing, Stachura’s attorney Terry Lodge said Stachura’s career was held back when she began complaining about the alleged discrimination she faced. Stachura said she was moved around and stripped of duties as chief, while also hearing sexist comments.

Stachura medically retired in 2008.

Imhoff still remains on active duty in the city but alleged that male firefighters on the force made sexist and racist comments toward her. She also said they left magazines with offensive pictures in them on her bed and in other places around the fire station. She asked to be reassigned to a different Toledo station.

The city’s attorney, Terry Green, claimed the suit was wrongfully punishing the city over “petty and isolated personality conflicts.” He said the city took action when the complaints were filed, according to the Blade.

The jury — made up of a majority of women — deliberated Tuesday afternoon.

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