BALTIMORE -- A state commission has upheld a Cecil County volunteer rescue worker's sexual discrimination complaint against her bosses.
The Human Relations Commission reaffirmed Monday its September decision that the Rising Sun Fire Company discriminated against Paula Haavistola when it suspended her after she complained of a sexual attack in a firehouse.
Haavistola, 46, reported in March to the fire company's board that firefighter Kenneth R. Truitt fondled her while she was putting equipment in an ambulance.
The board suspended both Haavistola and Truitt, saying it wanted to be fair to both until a court could determine Truitt's innocence or guilt.
A District Court judge found Truitt, 40, guilty in September of fourth-degree sexual assault.
Haavistola filed a $4.7 million federal lawsuit against the company, its board and Truitt. The suit said the defendants denied her due process and maligned her character. It asked for reinstatement, a ban on sexual harassment, and improved grievance procedures.
The commission found that Haavistola's suspension "has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment."
Roger N. Powell of Baltimore, attorney for the fire company, said he believes the company will appeal. The next step would be to ask that the case be heard by a Human Relations Commission judge.