Image: Saginaw Township fire

A Mid-Michigan firefighter says she was harassed while on the job now she's taking her complaints to the courtroom.

Cjelsea Powers claims she was sexually harassed and discriminated when she began working for the Saginaw Township Fire Department

Powers’ report details more than 20 incidents of claimed harassment are listed like being given pink equipment and being called derogatory names.

"The signal is clear, you can join the fire department but you're not going to be welcome if you're a woman," Julie Gafkay said.

Gafkay represents Powers, a Saginaw Township firefighter. She's filing a lawsuit against Saginaw Township along with the fire department’s chief and assistant chief, claiming sexual harassment.

"She was given a pink thigh master,” Gafkay said. “It became abundantly clear to her at that point 'hey I’m going to be treated differently because I’m a woman.’"

Gafkay said Powers was also worried about another firefighter who would take photos of his privates and leave them on people’s phones.

"That was known in the fire department and chelsea powers didn't want that to happen with her," Gafkay said.

Gafkay said Powers told the co-worker not to do it to her phone.

"He made a comment about not wanting to work with a b-word like her," Gafkay said.

The lawsuit alleges Powers was called the b-word multiple times, she had to use men's firefighting gear and Powers made internal complaints multiple times.

"And it fell on deaf ears," Gafkay said.

With seemingly nowhere to turn, Powers filed the lawsuit.

"She is doing this really for the young girls out there who want to be fire fighters when they grow up,” Gafkay said. “So, they have a locker room with privacy. So, they get gear that actually fits them. So, they can work in an environment that's not hostile to women."

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

CLICK HERE to download the TV5 app.


Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.