Franchina v. City of Providence United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 881 F.3d 32 (2018).Background and Facts Lori Franchina, a rescue lieutenant with the Providence Fire Department in Rhode Island, was assigned to work a shift with fellow firefighter Andre Ferro. During the shift, Ferro subjected her to unprofessional sexual comments and conduct. Based on Franchina’s account of Ferro’s actions, fire chief Curt Varone filed an intra-department complaint charging Ferro with sexual harassment. No action was taken. Other firefighters then began to treat Franchina with contempt. She was spit on and shoved and was forced to undergo verbal assaults, insubordination, and other kinds of negative treatment. She submitted forty different complaints of harassment to her superiors. Franchina filed a suit in a federal district court against the city of Providence, asserting that she was subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of her gender in violation of Title VII. The city argued that Franchina presented no evidence to support her claim. A jury issued a verdict in her favor and awarded damages. The city appealed.Decision and Remedy The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the judgment. “The abuse Lori Franchina suffered at the hands of the Providence Fire Department is nothing short of abhorrent * * * . Employers should be cautioned that turning a blind eye to blatant discrimination does not generally fare well under anti-discrimination laws like Title VII.”Critical Thinking• Economic Because ofthe constant harassment, Franchina had to be placed on injured-on-duty status. Later, diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and unable to work again as a rescue lieutenant, she “retired.” What is the appropriate measure ofdamages for this result? Discuss.• Legal Environment What steps might an employer take to avoid the circumstances that occurred in the Franchina case?
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