By Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha firefighter has filed a lawsuit against the city, saying she endured discrimination and harassment because of her gender and race.

Jane Crudup, who is Black, says in her lawsuit filed last week that the harassment she endured included finding her firefighter gear hung from a flagpole last March in a way that simulated a lynching, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Crudup immediately went inside the station to address the issue, but no other firefighter admitted culpability, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit says no disciplinary action was taken in that case or others in which she says she found tampering with her equipment.

In July, an internal investigation into the harassment by the city labeled the incidents “hazing for the purpose of training.”

Crudup has been on leave from the fire department since May 22. She had served as a full-time firefighter since January 2019. According to the lawsuit, she is the fifth Black woman to serve as a firefighter in the more than 150-year history of the City of Omaha.

Bernard in den Bosch, a deputy city attorney, told the World-Herald that the city denies the allegations of discrimination.

“We’ll defend the lawsuit to the fullest,” den Bosch said.

The Omaha Association of Black Professional Firefighters issued a statement supporting Crudup’s decision to sue, saying, “Everyone has a right to dignity and respect in the workplace.”

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