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Former employee suing LFD for sexual and age discrimination

(MGN Online)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A lawsuit involving the Lynchburg Fire Department is going to a jury trial in Federal Court.

Ruth Anne Phillips is suing the department and the City of Lynchburg for acts she claims were sexual and age discrimination.

Phillips worked at the fire department from June 2013 to July 2015.

In court documents, she claimed defendants created a sexually charged hostile work environment when utilizing, approving, and otherwise turning the other way to abusive language, she also claimed the defendants posted, acknowledged, and otherwise turned the other way to pornography that degraded female firefighters and paramedics.

*WARNING GRAPHIC LANGUAGE INCLUDED IN DOCUMENT*

Phillips alleges said officials within the fire department and the city told her she would be retaliated if she pursued charges.

She said officials regularly used and agreed to statements that women were "not strong enough to join the department, the department was weaker because of them, and that women lowered the training standards."

In one training statement, Phillips said it included that woman lead to the 'pussyfication' of the department.

She claimed the environment allowed for her coworkers to expose themselves to her, ask and comment on her sex life, her sex partners, and her sex identity.

In the court documents, Phillips listed several instances of firefighters discriminating against women, asking inappropriate questions, and using derogatory language toward other women who worked in the department.

Phillips claimed supervisors regularly made statements of racism, bigotry, hate speech, and sexual harassment and did nothing when others made similar statements.

The Lynchburg Fire Department and City of Lynchburg filed a motion to dismiss Phillip's complaint.

In the document, it says Philips' allegations of race or religious discrimination, discrimination on the basis of LGBTQ status, assault, and other purported misconduct or immaterial, irrelevant, and scandalous, and should be stricken from the complaint.

It shows that the the defendant's claim the allegations are based on race or religion or sexual status and not based on Phillip's gender or age and claim they have no relevance to her claim.

Phillips' claims she heard derogatory terms toward President Obama from Captain Darrell Hamlet and also claimed Former Battalion Chief Jason Campbell posted a photo of two African American women from the community on his Facebook page with a derogatory comment; Phillips claimed that another firefighter reported it, but Campbell was instead promoted to deputy chief.

She also claimed she was berated for being a 'working mother,' her age, and her beliefs.

In the motion to dismiss document, the defendant's said Philips' claims don't prove the environment was hostile toward her based on her age or sex and that Phillips does not provide a legal basis for suit against the fire department.

A judge did not dismiss the complaint, though, and the jury trial is scheduled for October 10 at 9:30 a.m.

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