MARENGO – A pretrial hearing has been set for Sept. 16 in the cases of three former Marengo Rescue Squad employees who are suing the district for alleged sex discrimination and retaliation.
Marge Strohfus and Dawn Reid, both former paramedics, allege that they were demeaned and subsequently fired because they are female.
Former Deputy Chief Todd Jones also alleges that after he spoke up about the discrimination complaints in early 2008, he was demoted and later forced to step down in June of that year.
The lawsuits state that the district, including Chief Barry Beckwith, treated male employees more favorably than female employees continually throughout 2007 and 2008. Female employees also were referred to as “broads” or “[expletive] broads,” among other allegations.
According to court records, the Marengo Rescue Squad has denied all discrimination allegations, as well as denying that the three performed their jobs in a satisfactory manner.
Reid was suspended and fired from her job in January 2008 without formal reason, the complaints state, and Strohfus was suspended and fired in May 2008. Strohfus had been with the district for several years, while both Reid and Jones were hired in 2006.
Beckwith briefly was suspended with pay in March, pending a six-day investigation by the Rescue Squad District’s board of trustees.
The complaints, filed in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois’ Western Division, seek compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $5 million each.
Strohfus, Reid and Jones next will appear in federal court in Rockford at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 16.