The Journal Gazette
Friday, November 12, 2021 1:00 am

City wants bias lawsuit dismissed

Retired firefighter claims harassment due to gender

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne officials have asked a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by a retired firefighter who alleges she was harassed at work because of her gender.

Holly Volz of Fort Wayne said she was harassed after she submitted a complaint in February 2018 against Deputy Chief Adam O'Connor of the Fort Wayne Fire Department for improper conduct after he spoke to her in a way she said was degrading because of her gender.

Volz didn't pass her work performance evaluation on her first attempt in December 2018 and was told to see a doctor then put on alternative duty, which resulted in part-time shifts and a decrease in income, court documents said.

Volz said fire department policy was not followed regarding her evaluation and she was improperly treated as someone with a disability, which she doesn't have, in retaliation of the complaint she filed earlier that year.

The city denied the allegations of harassment and discrimination in a response filed with the court Oct. 22. It also denied that fire officials treated Volz as if she were disabled and denied that the department broke protocol regarding her evaluation.

Volz has asked for loss of income, back pay, compensatory damages, attorney's fees, costs and other unspecified damages.

In the city's response, it said Volz didn't take actions to mitigate any possible damages or to take advantage of preventative or correction opportunities the city offered. The city also said Volz didn't state a claim for compensatory damages.

“The defendant had legitimate non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons for its actions or inactions,” the response stated.

The city asked the court to dismiss the complaint.

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