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Female Firefighter Sues Village of Weston for Discrimination and Retaliation

— September 2, 2020

A female firefighter recently decided to sue the Village of Weston over allegations of discrimination and retaliation.

The Village of Weston recently came under fire in a lawsuit filed by a female firefighter over allegations that she received “differential treatment after she filed a discrimination claim for being denied a promotion that she was previously offered.” The civil suit was filed by Danelle Langley. She worked with the Weston Township Fire Department as a firefighter and emergency medical responder for 10 years. According to the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Langley was “denied a promotion to the rank of lieutenant in December 2018, after initially being told she was being promoted.”

Statue of Lady Justice; image by William Cho, via
Statue of Lady Justice; image by William Cho, via

The suit was filed against the Village of Weston and notes that before Langley was denied her promotion, Weston Township Fire Department Chief Justin Selders previously “commended her service and offered her the promotion.” 

What happened, though? For starters, shortly after being offered a promotion, Chief Selders served Langley with a notice of suspension in September 2019, alleging her “actions at a July 2019 meeting were totally out of line and uncalled for.” However, “there was no citation to specific conduct or policy violation for the 30-day suspension,” according to the suit. Instead, Chief Selders told her there “had been complaints against her.” When Langley asked about them, she was “never shown those complaints and never had the opportunity to respond to them,” according to court records. In her suit, Langley said she had no memory of ever engaging in “any conduct that would violate the department’s policies.”

In the end, Langley was passed over for the promotion to lieutenant. Instead, a male candidate got the promotion, even though he was allegedly less qualified. Things kept going downhill from there for Langely. When she returned from her 30-day suspension, she was “placed on a 30-day probationary period.” When commenting on the case, her attorney, Kimberly Conklin, said:

“Women still struggle every day in America to break barriers. Danelle is a hard-working volunteer firefighter. She does not expect special treatment, she expects fair treatment. This lawsuit, though not the course of action Danelle would have preferred, was the necessary next step to ensure that she, and the women who follow her, are treated fairly at the Weston Fire Department.”

As a result of her treatment, Langley filed a discrimination charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission back in April 2019. However, after she did so, Langley claims she was “subjected to different treatment than she had previously experienced.” From then on, she allegedly “faced retaliation and was subjected to rude, unprofessional, and subversive treatment by the chain of command and her fellow firefighters.” For example, she began being cursed at, called names, and was routinely disrespected in front of members of her department. When she went to her commanders to complain about the conduct, she was “routinely met with silence.”

At the moment, Langley is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.


Volunteer firefighter files lawsuit for discrimination, retaliation

Langley v. Village of Weston, Ohio et al

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