The Columbus (Ohio) Fire Division battalion chief who was the first female in that position has come up short in the discrimination lawsuit she filed against the city in federal court.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, U.S. District Judge Michael Watson dismissed Yolanda Arnold's claims that she had been harassed due to the fact she is black and that she had suffered retaliation because of her discrimination claims. Arnold also claimed she was humiliated and embarrassed. (WCxKit)
Watson ruled recently that Arnold did not offer specific proof of her allegations in three years of court proceedings that included a number of depositions of witnesses and presentations of exhibits like emails, newspaper stories and other documents.
According to Watson, a large amount of the evidence was hearsay, which was not admissible direct evidence of discrimination.
Arnold, 55, who is still a Columbus fire battalion chief, said recently that she is appealing the judges decision to dismiss her suit.
The lawsuit originated from allegations by city building inspectors in 2004 that fire inspectors under Arnolds command were missing inspections and collecting overtime pay.
Separate investigations by the Columbus police and fire divisions detected no wrongdoing. A third investigation, by a private attorney, reported management problems in the Fire Prevention Bureau, which Arnold oversaw, but it also found that claims of racial discrimination in the bureau were unfounded.
At the time of the third investigation, Fire Chief Ned Pettus accused Arnold of lying to investigators and suspended her for a week. She also was removed from the Fire Prevention Bureau.
Arnold filed the lawsuit in January 2008. Watsons ruling was in response to a request from the city for a summary judgment against Arnold.
Ten other Columbus firefighters who were employed as fire inspectors filed three similar discrimination lawsuits against the city in federal court. (WCxKit)
Watson dismissed a pair of those suits on March 31, the day he also threw out Arnolds. A third is pending.
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