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Fire Department Finds No Bias Against Women

March 15, 1995

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Fire department investigators looking into claims of a department ``vendetta″ against women recruits found no evidence of gender bias.

Women in the department came forward in December with accusations of harassment and a videotape dubbed the ``Female Follies.″ The tape shows women making mistakes during training exercises in 1993 while their male counterparts performed well.

The investigation was ordered after Capt. Bassanio Peters and other firefighters brought accusations of gender discrimination to the City Council. Two other male firefighters reported hearing comments from colleagues that women should only console accident victims.

The accusations prompted the female recruits to circulate the tape.

Peters said he heard a training captain say, ``Who told them they could do this job?″ when women failed to raise a heavy ladder. The captain denied making the statement and department investigators dismissed it, saying ``it cannot be confirmed that it was made because of any recruit’s gender.″

The investigators concluded that the other claims of discrimination were unsubstantiated or misinterpreted.

``These actions were not discriminatory or sexist in nature. ... Therefore, there were no violations of the department rules or regulations,″ their 44-page report said.

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