Former Evergreen Firefighter Files Discrimination Complaint After Alleged Firing Over Social Media Posts
A former Evergreen firefighter has filed a complaint with the Montana Human Rights Network, saying she was a victim of discrimination and was wrongfully terminated. The Flathead Beacon reported that the Dec. 30 complaint by Presley Pritchard says other Evergreen Fire Rescue employees harassed her about photos she shared on social media.
According to the Flathead Beacon, Pritchard has over 82,000 followers on Instagram, and posts fitness pictures and promotes products on her page. In 2018, a "concerned tax payer" filed a complaint with the fire department's board of trustees, noting the fact that Pritchard occasionally posted pictures of herself wearing her department-issued uniform. The "concerned tax payer's" complaint stated that allowing Pritchard's photos on social media was in "poor taste."
The Flathead Beacon reported that Pritchard's complaint alleged she was subjected to "sexist and discriminating comments" during a board meeting following the complaint. Pritchard wrote that she was demoted and instructed to delete her Instagram posts in early 2019. Pritchard's complaint says she was fired in August 2019 for failing to follow orders to delete the posts.
In response to Pritchard's complaint, Fire Chief Craig Williams wrote to the Flathead Beacon that “we have on our roster a diverse staff of 54 dedicated individuals of which nearly half are female. The District takes very seriously all allegations it receives concerning workplace conditions. While the Complainant never made or reported any allegations to the District while she was employed, the District hired an independent investigator to complete an investigation concerning the validly of the complaints. After a thorough investigation, no evidence was found to support any of the Complainant’s allegations.”
The fire department has denied the allegations and makes no further comment.