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Chicago to Pay Paramedics $1.8 million in Sexual Harassment Settlement

Chicago’s City Council approved a $1.825 million settlement on June 25 to settle sexual harassment claims brought by five female paramedics who worked for the city’s fire department. The paramedics filed the suit in 2018 alleging that the fire department reinforced a “code of silence” that “ignored sexual-harassment complaints and failed to conduct meaningful investigations of alleged sex discrimination.”

The allegations include the claim from one  paramedic who reported her ex-boyfriend, also a fire department employee, for stalking but was subject to retaliation after making the report. Another paramedic said a supervisor pressured her for sex, asking her for a “no strings attached relationship.” A third paramedic’s claim alleged that an ambulance commander forced her to grab his genitals. The plaintiffs and their legal team received funding from the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.

An audit of the department conducted during the litigation revealed that 62 percent of female paramedics within the department were sexually harassed on the job.