Ex-firefighter alleges discrimination, harassment in lawsuit

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A female ex-firefighter is suing a North Carolina fire department, saying the fire chief deprived her of her duty and inflicted severe mental and emotional distress. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Joy Ponder, the first woman to reach the rank of division chief in the Asheville Fire Department, filed the lawsuit earlier this month in U.S. District Court. Her lawsuit says male employees were not treated in the “same adverse fashion with the same intensity or frequency.” City Attorney Brad Branham declined to talk about the case, saying the city does not typically comment about active litigation.