Federal jury awards ex-firefighter $800k in antigay harassment suit

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A former Rhode Island firefighter who said she suffered years of sexual harassment and gender discrimination by her colleagues has been awarded more than $800,000.

A jury handed up the award Monday after a nearly two-week trial.

Retired Providence Fire Lt. Lori Franchina filed suit in federal court in 2012 accusing her male colleagues of harassing and discriminating against her because she is a woman and a lesbian.

Franchina alleges she developed severe post-traumatic stress disorder because of the constant mistreatment. She says her superiors also failed to stop it.

The city had said Franchina was known to be difficult to get along with and said she failed to lodge a complaint with the city’s Equal Employment Opportunity officer.

City spokeswoman Emily Crowell tells WPRI-TV they plan to appeal.

[ap6]

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