Feds: "Hostile work environment" for Houston female firefighter

A report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says a female Houston firefighter was subjected to a hostile work environment because of her gender. Carrie Feibel reports.
Jane Draycott is a Houston firefighter who worked at Fire Station 54, near Bush Airport. She filed a harassment complaint in 2009.

Just days later, she reported that someone had scrawled racist and sexist graffiti on her locker and the locker of a female colleague.

Draycott is on leave from the department. She has a lawyer but has not yet filed suit.

Now, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued its own report. The Commission ruled that Draycott was subjected to a hostile work environment because of her gender. The federal agency confirmed many of Draycott’s allegations, such as the vandalization of her dorm room and bathroom at the firehouse.

The report also says that senior managers allowed male firefighters to disparage and humiliate Draycott when she tried to return to work.

The Houston city attorney, Dave Feldman, told the Houston Chronicle said he hopes the EEOC report will help resolve the matter.

But the president of the firefighter’s union criticized the report. Jeff Caynon said in a statement that the investigation was limited in scope. He said few of the male firefighters at Fire Station 54 were actually directly contacted by the EEOC.

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...