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Former firefighter-EMT sues department for gender discrimination

Megan Erdley said Chief James Blount had a “discriminatory desire to remove all women from the ranks of the paid staff of firefighters”


By Eric Scicchitano
The Daily Item 

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A female EMT and firefighter alleges in a federal lawsuit that she was fired this year from William Cameron Engine Company as a result of sexual discrimination and retaliation.

Megan Erdley, of Mifflinburg, sued the fire and ambulance company along with the union representing its paid employees. The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. Middle District Court by attorney Graham Baird, of Philadelphia.

Five counts are alleged: retaliation for a Facebook post, retaliation for resisting sex discrimination, sex discrimination and breach of the fair duty of representation under both state and federal law.

Erdley demands she be reinstated to her job along with a minimum payment of $150,000 for lost wages and future earnings.

William Cameron Chief James Blount declined comment Friday, referring questions to attorney Ryan Tira who could not be reached.

According to Erdley's lawsuit, she was fired May 16 following a Facebook post 10 days earlier about an unidentified nursing care center and the inability to access locked doors as an EMS/firefighter.

The lawsuit claims Blount acted to create pretext to fire Erdley by informing a nursing center about the claims and, in turn, receiving a letter of complaint from the center about Erdley's post. The center requested Erdley not be dispatched to its facility, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges Blount acted in a "discriminatory desire to remove all women from the ranks of the paid staff of firefighters."

Erdley, who worked at the fire and ambulance company since January 2012, says in the lawsuit she appeared before the William Cameron Engine Company Board of Directors on the night of May 16 but was rebuffed in her efforts to overturn Blount's decision.

Larry Forker, president of International Association of Firefighters Local 4917, allegedly was unaware of a looming deadline to meet Erdley's request to file for arbitration. The deadline passed and Erdley was unable to get arbitration, the lawsuit states.

Erdley claims she'd been disciplined for alleged rules violations dating to August 2015 while male coworkers behaving the same went undisciplined. She filed grievances against the discipline and alleges her firing less than two years later was, in part, a result of these incidents.

Copyright 2017 The Daily Item 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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