Jason Anderson was hired as a firefighter in the city of Everett, Washington in 2003. At the time of his hiring, he was among the first black men to serve in the city’s fire department. Anderson is now suing the city for allegedly discriminating and harassing him because of his race.
According to this King 5 report, Anderson states in the suit that the harassment started not long after he was hired. It started with seemingly “innocent” comments about his race and color. As the verbal harassment persisted, other things happened. For example, a sticker of a gorilla dressed as a firefighter appeared on his locker at the firehouse.
Anderson claims that he brought this matter up to his battalion chief in 2019 and was told to “suck it up.” He later reported the harassment to the department chief, as well as the city’s HR department and the office of the mayor. But things did not improve for him. In fact, they’ve only gotten worse, according to the lawsuit documents.
The civil rights lawsuit was filed on January 13 in the U.S. District Court in Seattle.
The city released a statement to King 5, saying they are investigating these allegations thoroughly because they have a zero-tolerance stand towards harassment of any kind.