Hired by Tampa Fire Rescue in late 2008, Tanja Vidovic became pregnant about a year later. A fire captain told her "this would not have happened if she had kept her legs closed," Vidovic alleges in a federal lawsuit against the city of Tampa.
Vidovic, one of several female firefighters who raised concerns about the department's treatment of women in its ranks in the Tampa Bay Times last spring, filed suit on March 23. She cited the captain's comment as the first of dozens of instances of discrimination and sexual harassment in her time at the department. On March 24, Tampa Fire Rescue fired her, citing "moral turpitude."
In the firing memo, Fire Chief Thomas Forward says Vidovic violated the city of Tampa personnel manual, specifically: "falsification, misrepresentation, or material omission of statements, testimony, or any document or record completed in the course of employment or in obtaining employment, including group insurance claims."
Department spokesman Jason Penny declined to comment.