San Francisco Fire Chief addresses sexual harassment claims made by female firefighter

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San Francisco fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White Friday spoke publicly for the first time about the sexual harassment charges made by a female firefighter. (KGO-TV)

San Francisco fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White Friday spoke publicly for the first time about the sexual harassment charges made by a female firefighter.

Hayes-White minced no words when she talked about the investigation into charges that a female firefighter had been harassed at Fire Station 2 in Chinatown.

"There were findings of harassment. That's something obviously we don't tolerate," she said.

The investigation was conducted by the city's Department of Human Resources. In a letter to chief Hayes-White, human resources director Micki Callahan went even further saying Station 2 was "hostile and challenging for females." The probe supports the victim's claims that she found feces on the women's bathroom floor and urine on her bed.

But a source with ties to those stationed to the firehouse says the allegations are untrue. That same source admits there was a climate of intimidation against the woman, not because of her gender but because they say she was having an affair with a member of the station's command staff, an affair that was becoming messy for everyone.

Hayes-White shook up the command staff of Station 2, removing all ten of the officers, including battalion chiefs.

"I don't think it's been done in my career to take all the supervisors out of that station, so kind of one step at a time," Hayes-White said.

So far, no one has been suspended or fired, but the chief has ordered all of the station's firefighters to sign a pledge.

"It's the workplace harassment free policy. It was a reminder document. We had them sign it this time," she said.

Hayes-White says this is process that's unfolding. She could take more disciplinary action when all the facts are in.
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