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Conn. battalion chief files discrimination suit after being denied promotion

Eileen Parlato claims that the East Haven Fire Department has a long history of sexism and that the chief targeted her


Photo/East Haven Firefighters Local 1205

By Leila Merrill

EAST HAVEN, Conn. — Battalion Chief Eileen Parlato filed a discrimination lawsuit against the East Haven Fire Department and the town on Tuesday.

Parlato, who has served as battalion chief for at least 16 years, claims that the department has a long history of sexism. She said the department tried to prevent her from becoming its first female firefighter 30 years ago.

She also claims in her lawsuit that she was not promoted to assistant chief last year “based on her sex,” in violation of Title VII, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, according to Patch.

WTNH reported that Parlato’s lawsuit said the department chief led a campaign against her.

The suit alleges that the chief falsely told the Board of Fire Commissioners that he did not know any internal candidates when Parlato had expressed interest. It also claims that the panel members helped the male candidate, who had 11 months of experience as a battalion chief, during his interview.

Patch reported that Parlato continues to work for the department, but WTNH reported that she does not.

East Haven Town Attorney Michael Luzzi refuted the suit’s claims and said the hiring process was done “largely based upon the unbiased evaluations of an outside independent panel.”

He said the panel included fire department officials from other towns.