Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Woman Houston Firefighter Harassed By Colleagues—Uniformed Forces Need Self-Discpline And Should Attend To Job At Hand

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that the Houston Fire Department failed to correctly address workplace harassment against firefighter Jane Draycott.

From the Houston Chronicle—

“The Houston Fire Department’s failure to properly address discrimination complaints by a female firefighter and subsequent retaliation subjected her to a “hostile work environment” based on her gender, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined….Draycott and another firefighter, Paula Keyes, found racist and sexist graffiti scrawled on the walls of their dormitory at Station 54 on July 7, 2009. The incident occurred after Draycott had complained to HFD officials of harassment.  The EEOC looked at two events. The first one was what took place after Draycott filed the complaint of harassment on June 29, 2009, and then was subjected, along with Keyes, to racist and sexist graffiti scrawled on their dormitory walls on July 7. The second involved Draycott alone. The EEOC confirmed Draycott’s allegation that former Fire Chief Phil Boriskie and other members of the HFD command staff allowed and encouraged “male firefighters to disparage and humiliate” her upon her return to work on Jan. 13, 2010….”

To her credit, Houston Mayor Annise Parker has taken a very tough line on this behavior.

Folks in Houston may recall just a few years ago when some in our fire department were in my view openly disrespectful to then Mayor Lee Brown.

Update—1/19/10—A Latino Houston firefighter has filed a complaint with the city claiming that he was hanged in effigy at a Houston firehouse and a ethnic slur was used against him.

When people join an uniformed force that is run by taxpayer dollars and is subject to civilian control, the expectation is that there will be discipline and respect for others from that force.

Hopefully Mayor Parker will continue to demand higher standards of conduct from our Houston firefighters.

January 18, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,


  1. Neil, maybe it was expressed elsewhere, but I didn’t see anything in that link about disrespect for the mayor, open or otherwise.

    That story had only one quote from a firefighter (the dead man’s brother): “Odds are [a fourth firefighter] would’ve helped.”

    The state’s report on that fire agreed, citing national standards:

    “Engine and ladder companies shall be staffed with a minimum of four on-duty personnel.” (HFD trucks at the time had only three.)

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | January 19, 2011

  2. Not sure you saw same link. Firefighters had obligation to treat mayor with respect regardless of policy differences.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 20, 2011

  3. Neil, sorry for the confusion. I was referring to the link you posted when you originally wrote this, not the one you changed it to.

    Thanks for reinstating my comment.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | January 20, 2011

  4. All my life I was raised not fully understanding why women, who did the same work as men were not paid the same wage. Equally baffling is the actions of men in certain jobs that feel they cannot work along side the gender that suffered 9 months of labor giving birth to people like themselves. Is there really any rational reason why either of these are issues for some men?

    Comment by lbwoodgate | January 20, 2011

  5. Matt–Your comment was never pulled. I’d not yet moderated it.

    ibwoodgate—I don’t know. It just seems that some folks will never get with the program.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 20, 2011

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