New York City's Fire Commissioner, Jane Doe, has been slapped with a 53-page lawsuit filed by several senior staff members claiming she engaged in age discrimination. The lawsuit alleges that the commissioner demoted and reassigned older senior staff members to positions with little or no responsibilities, while promoting younger and less experienced employees.
The plaintiffs claim that Commissioner Doe sought to "destroy" their careers by targeting them based on their age. According to the complaint, many of the affected employees had decades of experience at the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and had received numerous commendations for their work.
One plaintiff is quoted in the lawsuit as saying, "Commissioner Doe made it clear that she wanted younger people in charge because they were more malleable." Another plaintiff claims he was told by a superior that his reassignment was due to his age and that he should just retire.
The lawsuit seeks damages for lost wages and benefits as well as emotional distress caused by what it calls a hostile work environment created by Commissioner Doe's alleged actions.
In response to the lawsuit, FDNY spokesperson John Smith stated: "We take all allegations of discrimination seriously and will thoroughly review this matter. However, we cannot comment further on pending litigation."
This is not the first time Commissioner Doe has faced criticism during her tenure at FDNY. In 2019, she was accused of mishandling sexual harassment complaints within the department. She denied those allegations at the time.
It remains to be seen how this new legal challenge will affect her leadership role within one of New York City's most critical public safety agencies.