A former firefighter recruit is suing San Diego for discrimination, harassment and retaliation because she was fired last year after speaking up about lewd comments and penis drawings in the Fire Academy locker room.
Nicole Pappas, 31, claims male members of her 2015 recruiting class criticized her weight, commented on her butt and forced her to look at penis drawings by taping them on the wall, emailing them and posting them on social media.
After she described such things during an independent investigation by the city’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Pappas claims the city added a discriminatory requirement that she couldn’t fulfill.
Pappas’s lawsuit is mostly focused on behavior in her academy class, which had 33 men and three women. In addition to making comments and posting penis pictures, some male recruits assaulted her.
Pappas says Fire Department supervisors saw the harassment and did nothing to stop it. She contends one instructor said to a male recruit, in reference to Pappas, “you’re going to let a girl answer the question and get it right before you?”