Toronto female firefighter claims years of abuse and harassment
Jamie Wilson said she’s been bullied and harassed for nearly 10 years, but has had no help from her union
TORONTO — A former Toronto firefighter has come forward with claims of nearly a decade of bullying, harassment and discrimination while she worked for Toronto Fire Services.
Jaime Wilson said she’s been punched at work by a male colleague on multiple occasions, and has endured a slew of verbal abuse. When she tried speaking out, Wilson said she was only moved to another station and that the firefighter union has done little to help her.
Wilson filed a complaint regarding the abuse in 2008, but was only assigned to a new station, reported CBC News.
By 2010, she was moved to one of the city’s busiest stations, but was already known to have a reputation.
“The platoon chief said to me when I got to the hall: ‘I hope you brought your birth control because you just got f-cked,’ meaning now you’re here and I hear you complained in the past,” Wilson said.
In 2013, the city hired an outside lawyer to investigate the assault allegations Wilson filed regarding the coworker that punched her.
After the nine-month investigation, officials concluded that Wilson’s coworkers were simply kidding around. The investigator did report that inappropriate comments were made and that Wilson was punched on one occasion.
The union took almost two years to file a grievance after Wilson hired a lawyer to urge the union to do so.
“It’s not just the union’s role to prevent systemic discrimination. It’s the employer’s job,” Rachel Simmonds, Wilson’s lawyer, said. “And what we want is for Jaime and the union to be working together to get the employer to change the work environment because they’re the one with the power to make fundamental changes in the workplace.”
Wilson was offered a position with the city’s fire prevention division last fall, but she said she no longer wants to work in the fire service.
“I was so proud of being a firefighter. I do love the job, but there’s just all the discrimination and retaliation.... I just can’t go back,” Wilson said. “I don’t want anyone else to experience what I experienced."