Ohio Civil Rights Commission rules in favor of terminated Toledo Fire recruit

 Sierra Adebisi
Sierra Adebisi (WTVG)
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 9:38 AM EDT
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A Toledo Fire Department recruit who was terminated last year was unlawfully discriminated against, according to a recent ruling from the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

The recruit, Sierra Adebisi is an African American female. She claims she was discriminated against based upon her race and sex. According to a letter of determination from the OCRC, Adebisi believes she was harassed due to "being more closely scrutinized, monitored, disciplined, and in the manner in which was was treated by Caucasian trainers."

"It's happening more than we know," Adebisi said. "Not everyone who goes through Toledo Fire will have the resilience that I had. They're gonna quit, they're gonna breakdown. But I feel like if I stand up now that they're going to have a better chance."

, the issues leading to Adebisi's termination included:

• A violation of the carpool policy. Recruits were supposed to car pool to the fire training center. Adebisi said the car pool left before she arrived, adding that she did not think that violation warranted a reprimand.

• Adebisi also missed homework assignments and had poor scores on some fitness and aptitude tests. In one response, she says she didn’t have enough time to complete the assignment but would attempt to arrive early to have extra assignments completed. She says she asked for assistance with her assignments and to retake tests she failed.

• There was also a major issue over gear. Adebisi is accused of leaving her gear at the fire training center on Airport Highway. In a statement about this, she says she thought she'd put the gear in the vehicle. She says she got home, opened the rear and saw it was not there. She then showed up at training a few days later with someone else's gear. That happened on August 20, 2019.

In information released by the OCRC, Adebisi failed a test and was not given sufficient time to study for a retest. She asked for more time from a Caucasian trainer but was denied. At the same time, another African American female trainee who failed the same test was granted extended time to study for a retest by an African American trainer.

The Civil Rights Commission ordered conciliation, meaning both sides will have to come together and work out some sort of agreement on how her dismissal should be handled.

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