For more information please call  800.727.2766


Female Firefighters in Los Angeles Subject To “Hostile Work Environment”

A female Fire Battalion Chief in the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) told the Board of Fire Commissioners that women in the LAFD are being hazed and retaliated against by male firefighters. Kris Larson, who is president of the Los Angeles Women in the Fire Service, described women cleaning “feces off of their bathroom floor or their toilets, left by men, and its unacceptable.” One former LAFD firefighter, Katie Becker, told The Los Angeles Times that male firefighters would “destroy” the women’s bathroom, making it clear that they did not want women in the station. She said the LAFD is “littered with cruel leadership and misogynistic co-workers.” Other women reported male firefighters expose themselves to women and that they are targeted with sexist remarks. Women make up just 3.5% of sworn fire department personnel.

Larson said LAFD women do not come forward because they believe the department will not treat them fairly; they do not trust the LAFD complaint system. At the hearing, the LAFD Fire Chief said he took Larson’s comments seriously but urged women to come forward because the department cannot “act on rumor and innuendo.” Rebecca Ninburg, a former appointee to the Board of Fire Commissioners, recently described the LAFD as “a very hostile work environment” for female firefighters. In responding to the Fire Chief’s statement, Ninburg said his solution was “part of the problem.” She said LAFD women are scared to come forward and that it is incumbent upon the Chief to create an atmosphere where they know their complaints will be taken seriously.