• Lawsuit: CFD retaliated against woman for having baby

    By: Jim Bradley


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Serious allegations are being made against the Charlotte Fire Department by a woman who said she was targeted for retaliation for taking family leave after having a baby.
    In a lawsuit filed against the city of Charlotte, former CFD analyst Rachel Pillar's accusations are provocative.
    She called the work atmosphere inside the CFD hostile towards women and said, "Female administrative employees are considered the least favored and are treated the worst."
    Pillar, who was fired in May 2012, said she was targeted for retaliation after using the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to take time off after she had a baby in 2009. 
    Her lawsuit accuses Charlotte's fire chief of saying he did not like "paying for women to have babies."
    Pillar claimed that once she returned to work her workload increased to the point that she suffered from "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, depression and anxiety."
    In December of 2011, Pillar took family leave time again to begin "treatment for severe depression."
    It was during that time off that the city of Charlotte sent her a letter recommending termination from her job due to a "significant reduction in your job performance."
    The termination letter claimed Pillar cost the fire department more than a million dollars in potential federal grants because of "numerous missed deadlines."
    In a response filed in federal court, the City of Charlotte denied nearly all of Pillars claims and insists "no conduct was engaged in with the purpose of targeting (Pillar) for taking FMLA leave."
    Attorneys for Pillar didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the case. 

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