Spokane investigates harassment claims in fire department

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Spokane human resources department has investigated allegations of bullying, sexual harassment and hazing involving probationary employees of the city’s fire department.

KXLY-TV reports a firefighter brought forward the allegations, claiming a pattern of abuse has existed for years that created an “unhealthy atmosphere for probationary employees.”

Probationary employees are new hires or recently promoted workers who are under an evaluation period.

The city began an investigation in February, leading to a 40-page report.

Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer says the department takes the allegations seriously and an investigation is ongoing. He says disciplinary action will be taken after the investigation is complete.

Spokane Firefighters Union President Randy Marler told The Spokesman-Review that the union is planning to conduct its own investigation and it stands by its members.