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Female Captain sues Palm Beach County Fire Rescue for sex harassment, discrimination

Posted at 7:26 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-21 16:51:17-05

A Palm Beach County Fire Rescue captain is suing the department. Captain Amanda Vomero claims she endured sexual harassment and discrimination on a regular basis from multiple chiefs.  

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Captain Vomero says the harassment started in 2013, in one of her first meetings as a human resources officer. 

There, a male supervisor asked if she noticed the other woman in the room, and how she was silent. When Vomero said yes, he replied: "maybe you should take notes and not speak either."

Vomero goes on to claim in her lawsuit that most of the sexual harassment and discrimination came at the hands of a fire chief. 

According to Vomero, "(The chief) would make her the brunt of most of his jokes," in management meetings. 

Vomero also says she was "constantly subjected to crude and discriminatory comments by this particular chief," even threatening to replace her with his girlfriend.

Then, Vomero claims, the chief began making comments about how tight her pants were.

She says, when she went to another chief, the top chief for help, she claims he told her she "was blowing it out of proportion, and that it was just 'good humor, firehouse fun.' "

Shortly after that, Vomero claims the chief began to spread a rumor about Vomero and another fire chief, being in a relationship. From there, the lawsuit contains graphic and sexual language.

Vomero says she took an extended leave in 2016 because the department refused to do anything to protect her. 

When she returned to work, Vomero says the department barred her from working on programs and boards she had before. 

Palm Beach County's Human Resources department launched an internal investigation following Vomero's claims and found that "sexually oriented rumors are commonplace within the department and that ranking officers are responsible."

In her lawsuit, Vomero says she is suing because she had complained through the chain of command, and fire rescue did nothing. 

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and the county attorney's office says they don't comment on pending litigation.

We reached out to Vomero's lawyer. He did not return our calls.

NOTE: 

This story has been updated to correct an error.

An earlier version incorrectly stated that The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated Vomero's claims. In fact it was the Palm Beach County Human Resources Department that investigated Vomero's claims. We apologize for the mistake