Female firefighter files gender discrimination lawsuit
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A woman who fought fires for Atira Systems GST of Oregon is suing for gender discrimination, saying she was forced to share a hotel room with male colleagues, according to court documents.
Michelle LaPage, who is identified in the documents as being from Deschutes County, was hired by the private company in August 2018 and immediately told Steven Haddix, a company executive, that as the team’s only woman she was uncomfortable sharing a room with men, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Haddix told LaPage she would be able to sleep in a tent instead, the lawsuit says.
Two days later, LaPage was forced to share a room with men for over two weeks, the lawsuit states. LaPage in the documents said two men in the room were “rude and condescending” and made her uncomfortable.
When she complained to Haddix, the lawsuit says, he reiterated she needed to share a room. When she complained again, Haddix called her profane and derogatory names and made unsubstantiated claims about her mental health before firing her, the suit claims.
Haddix told The Oregonian/OregonLive that LaPage never complained to him about having to sleep in the same room as the male firefighters.
He said LaPage was terminated from the company for “gross insubordination,” and said that she was disrespectful to other Atira employees and U.S. Forest Service employees.
LaPage is seeking $475,000 for gender discrimination and wrongful termination.