Camp Taylor firefighters sue; claim hostile workplace - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Camp Taylor firefighters sue; claim hostile workplace

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Camp Taylor deputy chief Steve Adkins, named in civil lawsuit filed Monday. Camp Taylor deputy chief Steve Adkins, named in civil lawsuit filed Monday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WDRB) -- Claims of sexual and racial harassment go from the firehouse to the courthouse.

The alleged harassment and physical abuse that has the Camp Taylor fire district board investigating -- and preparing to defend itself in court.

The allegations include simulated sex, inappropriate language and physical abuse.

A civil lawsuit filed in Louisville Monday alleges the deputy chief and two firefighters just don't get along.

Firefighters George Givens, Jr. and Michael Killebrew claim deputy chief Steve Adkins fostered a hostile work environment.

How?  With Adkins' alleged use of sexual and racial slurs, simulated sex acts and physical abuse that included striking the firefighters in the testicles multiple times.

"The investigation is ongoing, and we're monitoring on a daily basis," said Alan Lewis, chairman of the Camp Taylor fire district board.

He could not answer questions about the specific allegations that also include retaliation for speaking about a recent fire district election and making a complaint to the board.  Adkins was not available for comment.  Some of the allegations in the suit date back to March and June of this year.
    
"We were proactive in getting an investigator independently to talk to the people on staff at the fire department," Lewis said.  That investigator was hired once the firefighters' attorney, Jason McGregor, made the board aware of the claims before the suit was filed. 

The consultant is president of an "EEO consulting firm" in Louisville, a firm that specializes in investigating hostile workplace claims.

WDRB News obtained documentation that shows the fire district is also investigating whether Givens and Killebrew have made inappropriate workplace statements as well.

Lewis could not confirm that.  However, he said, "I think we have to have due process here for the investigation with all parties."

The firefighters and attorney McGregor did not comment further on their suit. 

The fire district hopes to convince a judge to dismiss it.

The firefighters and the deputy chief are working, on active duty as usual, Lewis said.  It was too early for any personnel actions by the board.

Lewis said the lawsuit and apparent rift among the men should not delay or disrupt any fire calls.

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