Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

A female Chicago Fire Department paramedic had allegedly been fending off lewd comments and sexual advances from a superior for weeks last fall when she had an unnerving encounter with him after she went into private firehouse sleeping quarters to get some rest. She’d taken off her boots and the room was dark when the superior — a field chief and 38-year veteran — entered the firehouse using a special key, opened the door. Fearing she would be sexually assaulted, the woman jumped up and demanded the chief turn the lights on. After he refused and took a step toward her, she pulled back her foot and prepared to defend herself. “Maybe I should leave,” the chief allegedly said.

The woman reported the incident to another boss who took it up the chain of command. Not only was the field chief not disciplined but also within days rumors began to spread among the woman’s co-workers that she was unstable. One fellow paramedic turned his back on her when she arrived at an accident scene.

The allegations were included in a federal sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit filed against the city Tuesday by five female paramedics who claim they were groped, stalked and forced to endure repeated sexually explicit remarks from superiors. The 57-page suit alleges the city has failed to deter a long-standing, pervasive culture of sexual harassment throughout the department’s firehouses and facilities, allowing men accused of wrongdoing to remain on the job while their accusers were often put on medical leave.

The conditions have been exacerbated by the city’s failure to provide even basic equalities for women, from adequate bathrooms to separate sleeping quarters, the suit alleged.

Much of the alleged sexual misconduct occurred in the midst of the national #MeToo movement that put a spotlight on egregious behavior in the workplace — often by male superiors who use their power or celebrity to harass or assault an underling.

Three other women made allegations against the same ambulance field commander. One said he tried to kiss her and force her to inappropriately touch him. The two others said he made repeated sexually explicit comments. A fifth woman alleged that she was targeted for retaliation after she filed a complaint and ultimately an order of protection against her former boyfriend, a longtime firefighter. In October, she was accused of making false allegations against another department member and threatened with termination, although the allegations were later dismissed as unsustained, according to the suit.

All five plaintiffs were listed in the suit as Jane Does. Their attorney said in an email that they did not wish to comment publicly, adding the women want to remain productive employees”but filed the lawsuit as a way to get relief from the current hostile work environments.

thanks Scott