Firefighter wins sexual harassment lawsuit

April 6, 2012 at 2:42 PM   |   Comments

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., April 6 (UPI) -- A Florida jury ruled in favor of a female Miami Beach firefighter who said she was sexually harassed by her male coworkers.

Miami Beach firefighter Marlenis Smart won $700,000 last month in her civil trial against city officials and other firefighters, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

The jury ruled that Smart's coworkers "subjected her to a sexually hostile work environment," and caused her "emotional pain and mental anguish."

Smart alleged the abuse began when she was hired in January 2005. She said she was introduced on her first day of training as "the chick who is doing this as a hobby and doesn't need to work due to her husband's financial situation." She said other firefighters told her "women belong in the kitchen."

Smart, who first reported the harassment in March 2008, filed a federal lawsuit in Miami in May 2010. Smart said the city retaliated against her by suspending her for 240 hours and trying to have the Florida Health Department strip her EMS license.

The city has denied all of the claims and is filing motions to overturn the verdict. And if that fails, they plan to appeal, the city said in a statement.

"The city will immediately appeal the jury's finding relating to allegations of harassment. The city is confident it will prevail."

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