Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

On Dena Lewis-Bystrzycki’s first day as a Country Club Hills firefighter, the chief at the time allegedly leaned over to her and whispered a crude sexual invitation.

Some co-workers laughed. Lewis-Bystrzycki looked at one of them and asked, essentially, “Is this what I am to expect?”

“Welcome to the fire service,” the engineer allegedly responded, according to recently filed court records that detail the exchange.

Nearly two decades later, Lewis-Bystrzycki has filed a lawsuit alleging firefighters regularly watch pornography at the station, engaged in gender discrimination when she came up for a promotion and retaliated against her for reporting misbehavior.

There are only two full-time female firefighters in the department, according to the suit. Lewis-Bystrzycki, 40, is one of them. She said firefighting is in her blood as she’s following in the footsteps of several uncles, her father and grandfather.

“I was raised in a firehouse,” Lewis-Bystrzycki said in an interview.

Lewis-Bystrzycki has been a firefighter with Country Club Hills since 1998. She first sued the department in 2012, and on Wednesday she filed a supplemental complaint alleging lieutenants have admitted knowing that employees watch porn in the stations.

The lawsuit also alleges that many questions on the 2011 lieutenant promotion exam were written by the father of Carl Pycz, the male firefighter who got the job after scoring highest on the written exam.

Lewis-Bystrzycki complained at the time but was ignored, the lawsuit alleges. At one point, court records allege, Carl Pycz confronted Lewis-Bystrzycki with “a big smile and said, ‘Let the best man win.'”

Since Pycz’s promotion, the lawsuit alleges, he has retaliated against Lewis-Bystrzycki by excluding her from station meals, assigning her menial tasks and unfairly disciplining her.

Country Club Hills referred questions to its attorney, Daniel Boddicker, who said the fire chief has “terminated access to the premium movie channels” where there is nudity. He said the department is investigating the pornography allegations further.

Boddicker declined to comment on anything else but said the fire department expects to win the lawsuit.

Lewis-Bystrzycki’s attorney, Dana Kurtz, said this is one of the more egregious cases she’s seen.

“You have people in command that are doing nothing,” Kurtz said.

Court records filed earlier this month detail at least 45 instances of sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation against Lewis-Bystrzycki dating back to the beginning of her employment. The alleged misbehavior spans nearly two decades.

In 1998, after Lewis-Bystrzycki started, a firefighter threw a ring used for sexual purposes at her.

One firefighter broke down the bathroom door in 1999 while Lewis-Bystrzycki was showering, according to the complaint.

There were a handful of incidents in 2009 where a male firefighter, and on one occasion two firefighters, climbed into Lewis-Bystrzycki’s bunk and said “cuddle with me” or something similar, court records allege.

In 2012, someone placed a sticker on Lewis-Bystrzycki’s locker with a sexual connotation, court records allege.

That same year, court records allege, Lewis-Bystrzycki came back to her locker and found a ceramic doll on top of it with its hands placed over its mouth. That indicated she should shut her mouth, court records allege.

In 2013, court records allege, Lewis-Bystrzycki was told by another firefighter that there was “an unwritten order given not to assist (Lewis-Bystrzycki) with anything.”

That incident, in particular, disturbs Lewis-Bystrzycki, she said. Fighting the case has left her “nerve-wracked, overwhelmed and scared.”

thanks Dan