HOUSTON – Accusing the City of Houston of engaging in sex discrimination against two female firefighters, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit.
The 20-page suit, which was filed in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on Feb. 28, alleges Houston subjected Jane Draycott and Paula Keyes to a hostile work environment because they are women.
Draycott and Keyes were assigned to Fire Station 54 near George Bush Intercontinental Airport at the end of last decade. Because the station rarely had women firefighters, the suit says, the male firefighters regularly used the women’s restroom and dormitory.
Recent court documents add the supposed misuse was “an attempt to drive the women away from the station.” Draycott’s and Keyes’s male counterparts continued to occupy the women’s facilities despite numerous complaints, per the original petition.
These complaints allegedly resulted in several discriminatory acts against Draycott and Keyes, including but not limited to vandalism and threats.
According to the DOJ, the defendant sought to dissuade Draycott from returning to duty after an internal investigation in retaliation for past complaints.
“The city further subjected Draycott to retaliation because of her complaints of sex discrimination which ultimately resulted in her constructive discharge,” court papers assert.
The DOJ ascertains the incidents had “serious” emotional and physical effects on Draycott and Keyes, claiming the “discriminatory situation persists” at the station.
Unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial are sought.
Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:18-CV-0644