Former female fire­fighter sues depart­ment

A former female firefighter has filed a discrimination and harassment suit against the Petaluma Fire Department.

The complaint by Andrea Waters filed last month in Sonoma County Superior Court alleges she experienced a hostile environment, retaliation harassment and discrimination based on her gender after she was hired as a firefighter/paramedic in June 2008.

Waters left the Petaluma Fire Department earlier this year, defense attorney Deborah Kochan said. The complaint alleges Waters was treated as a second-class citizen, was denied training available to male firefighters and was held to standards male firefighters were not.

The suit claims Waters’ performance was hyper-scrutinized and criticisms about her work were fabricated. The suit also alleges Waters was denied the opportunity to trade work shifts because she was not provided a private shower facility and changing and sleeping area private from male firefighters.

Waters alleges she was subject to retaliation when she complained she was being singled out and subjected to unequal treatment. She is seeking damages for humiliation, mental anguish, emotional and physical distress and lost wages and benefits.