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El Dorado Hills Firefighter Alleges Sexism, Discrimination Within Agency

EL DORADO HILLS -- An El Dorado Hills firefighter filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month against the fire department, detailing allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment and sexism.

The complaint alleges Lisa Marie Mason endured sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and even physical assault over much of her 10 year career.

It says Fire Chief Dave Roberts fostered an environment of sexism and failed to investigate her claims.

"I come to work every day under egregious circumstances because of my devotion to duty," said Mason.

Mason`s attorney pointed us in the direction of a video showing Mason in uniform, standing at a podium before her fire department's board of directors last May -- reporting the abuse she says she had long been conditioned to keep quiet.

"Dave Roberts, fire chief, under surveillance by video camera, unprovoked, struck me on the head," said Mason.

She goes on to say that she reported all misconduct according to protocol, but to no avail -- to which the board appears to respond by saying the "this comes as completely out of the blue."

"I fear for my safety and as a mother of two, I beg you to place me on paid protective leave," said Mason.

Nine months later, Mason`s attorney says she is still on leave and still unable to return to work.

In a written statement, the department said, "We`re aware of the allegations and they either have been or are currently under investigation by outside investigators with the full support of the board of directors, fire chief and his staff. Beyond that, we do not comment on personnel matters."

The lawsuit alleges years of abuse

In 2010 , it says a captain dragged Mason by the neck across the station

In 2014 - It says she was pushed in the chest by a superior officer

In 2015 - It says another male engineer brandished a knife in her direction
threatening to "cut [her] breasts off."

It states that as the only female firefighter in her class of recruits, she was the only firefighter denied rotation among firehouses, all the way until 2017.

The lawsuit  says Roberts continued to demean and belittle Mason, reprimanding her for making health and safety complaints and denying her placement on a prestigious task force despite her clear qualifications.