The equal employment opportunity officer for the District of Columbia Fire Department has recommended that two high-ranking fire officials be charged with discriminating against a female firefighter.
EEO officer Joseph Kitt recommended late last week that Battalion Chief Vincent K. Elmore, 42, and Capt. McEldon L. Fleming, 36, second and third in command of the department's training academy, be cited for sex discrimination against Laura B. Samuel, according to Assistant Fire Chief Calvin Watson.
Watson said it is the first time the EEO officer has recommended that discrimination charges be brought against officers or firefighters in the department.
The recommended charges have been turned over to the department's three-member Disciplinary Investigation Board for consideration, Watson said. He refused to comment further on the charges.
Samuel, 27, the third woman selected for firefighter training here, charged fire officials with sex discrimination after she was told last October that she had failed to meet the academic requirements of the training program. Later, Samuel was told she would be dismissed from the department.
The city's Office of Human Rights upheld her discrimination complaint and ordered her reinstatement, saying she was "subjected to undue stress... because of her sex" both in academic training and because she was "required to perform difficult physical exercises that had not been required of previous trainees."
Fire officials appealed that ruling to then city administrator Julian Dugas. Dugas, however, agreed with the Office of Human Rights and ordered that Samuel be restored to duty without loss of pay or seniority and allowed to join the fire department's next training class.
Watson said yesterday that Samuel had been working in the department's supply and procurement section but would return to the training academy Feb. 26.