Spokane to discipline 5 firefighters after harassment claims

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Spokane will discipline five firefighters following the conclusion of an investigation into allegations of harassment and bullying within the department.

The Spokesman-Review reports two firefighters will be suspended for 48 hours without pay and other disciplinary action will be taken, including written reprimands.

The firefighters’ union and city officials said in a joint statement Tuesday that they are “committed to a workplace free from harassment, discrimination, or retaliation of any kind.”

The city human resources department launched the initial investigation earlier this year after an employee reported bullying, crude sexual language and inappropriate behavior. Many of the allegations involved behavior directed at probationary employees, who are new hires or recently promoted workers.

Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer says he has made it clear that “offensive behavior will not be tolerated.”