A female FDNY employee is suing the city claiming that she was the victim of rampant gender discrimination from her coworkers. Staten Island resident Eileen Dechbery, 33, told PIX11 that the harassment started when someone changed the name on her locker at Station 23 in SI from Dechbery to “Duchbery.” Then she claims coworkers started calling her that to her face, sometimes asking, “Who wants to work with douchebag today?”
Dechbery, who is suing the city for emotional and physical damages caused by gender discrimination, says that was only the start of the abuse. When she went to get re-certified for CPR, she says she was forced to do it four hours a day for four straight days. “In all the years, I recertified for CPR, [the test] wasn’t more than 20 minutes… but this CPR, I was doing it for 4 hours straight.” She says her CPR dummy was the only one that contained a metal plate; as a result, both of her hands suffered severe tendinitis, needing casts and forcing her to wear braces potentially for the rest of her life.
She failed the CPR test, and is on the verge of losing her job: “I’m now like this for rest of my life, and I’m talked about, humiliated, blacklisted. I’ll never be able to wear uniform again, which so heart-wrenching. I never want this happening to anybody else, to any other females.”
As we previously reported, United Women Firefighters group has alleged that the FDNY's physical exam specifically discriminates against females. Dechbery's lawyer, Linda Cronin, is representing another female EMT who is currently suing the FDNY for similar forms of discrimination; the city has moved to dismiss that lawsuit, which was brought about in 2008. But Cronin says Dechbery's suit proves that "employment discrimination is alive and well. Female is no different than any other minority in the abuse and retaliation they take, first on the job, god forbid, they try to complain.”