Two sharply different pictures were painted Tuesday about efforts to fight sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying at Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.
WASHINGTON — Two sharply different pictures were painted Tuesday about efforts to fight sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying at Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.
While Fairfax Board Supervisors were being told of an improving workplace climate at county firehouses, Battalion Chief Kathleen Stanley sent a letter to Fairfax County Fire Chief Richie Bowers, first made public by WUSA9, charging that the agency “tolerates and often defends sexual harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment.”
Stanley stepped down as the leader of a women’s advocacy group in the fire department, charging that the job was “for show.”
But when the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee asked the fire department for an update Tuesday on efforts to improve workplace culture, it was told that progress was being made.
“The team has made some positive improvements to date … we’re all in on this and we’re making a difference,” Bowers told the committee.
“Ninety-five percent of the women have not had any problems due to their gender,” Lt. Katja Lancing added to the committee.
“It is all the more critical and important that we have a strong culture of respect and a very strong culture that protects all of our personnel against bullying or harassment,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova.
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