Fired female FF claims she was belittled, forced to share hotel room with men

The firefighter is suing her former private employer for gender discrimination, saying she was mistreated by male colleagues and an executive


Kale Williams
The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A woman who fought fires for Atira Systems GST of Oregon is suing for gender discrimination, claiming she was forced to share a hotel room with male colleagues, according to court documents.

Michelle LaPage, who is identified in the documents as being from Deschutes County, was hired by the private company in August of 2018 and immediately told Steven Haddix, a company executive, that as the team’s only woman she was uncomfortable sharing a room with men. Haddix told LaPage she would be able to sleep in a tent rather than share a room, the lawsuit says.

Two days later, Haddix told LaPage she needed to share a room and was forced to do so for more than two weeks, the lawsuit states. LaPage in the documents said two men in the room were “rude and condescending” and made her uncomfortable.

When she complained to Haddix, the lawsuit alleges, he reiterated she needed to share a room. When she complained a second time, Haddix called her profane and derogatory names and made unsubstantiated claims about her mental health before firing her, the suit claims.

Haddix also told LaPage she would be responsible for covering the costs of transporting a replacement worker to the job site, the suit claims.

In a recorded phone call after her termination, Haddix called LaPage “mentally ill,” “catatonic,” a “wacko” a “mental case,” the suit says, and that she suffered from a “split personality disorder” and was “bipolar.” LaPage has no history of mental illness, according to the lawsuit.

Neither Atira nor Haddix could immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

LaPage is seeking $475,000 for gender discrimination and wrongful termination.

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©2020 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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