Hazing News

Updates on Los Angeles firefighter hazing allegations and suits

Feminist Daily News Wire
October 4, 2007

EEOC Steps In to End Los Angeles Fire Department Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Tuesday accused the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) of violating civil-rights law through a pattern of discrimination, harassment and retaliation against black and woman employees. Its findings came after investigating discrimination complaints from two anonymous women firefighters. The LAFD must now implement drastic reforms or face a possible federal lawsuit, reports the The Los Angeles Times.

The LAFD has paid out about $13 million dollars in a string of recent discrimination suits. Firefighter Brenda Lee sued over harassment and “hazing”, including having urine mixed into her mouthwash. Last week, African American firefighter Tennie Pierce won a suit filed after he was made to eat dog food by his white coworkers. Other women and minority firefighters have described being sexually harassed, “hazed,” denied transfer requests and promotions, forced to undergo excessive “training,” and retaliated against or ignored when they filed discrimination complaints.

Mayor Villaraigosa and other city officials have promised to cooperate fully with the EEOC and impose major LAFD reforms.

Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 10/3/07, Los Angeles Daily News 10/3/07

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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