Karen Ocamb

Lesbian Fire Chief Sues City Alleging Discrimination

Filed By Karen Ocamb | April 24, 2011 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: California, Cathleen Orchard, fire chief, gender discrimination, lawsuit filed, sex discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination

Monterey Park, California Fire Chief Cathleen Orchard filed a lawsuit Thursday, April 21, alleging that the City Council and firefighter's union conspired to force her out because of her gender and sexual orientation, according to Monterey-Park-Fire-Chief.jpgthe San Gabrielle Tribune. Orchard is the city's first female fire chief.

Orchard's photo and welcoming message are still on the front page of the department's website but she has not been to work since June 5 when she experienced "chest pains and high blood pressure," the paper reported, adding that "the lawsuit claims her medical condition was a result of 'wrongful conduct by Council members.'"

"After we got her claim [filed before the lawsuit] we attempted to interview her and she refused to participate," City Attorney Mark Hensley told the paper. "It wasn't until the complaint that I had any allegations as to what was behind her sexual orientation claim."

Two of the city councilmembers named in the suit also told the paper they do not think they discriminated against Orchard.

(Crossposted at LGBTPOV. Photo via Monterey Park Fire Department.)

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She's had chest pains for almost a year? That sounds odd.