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Posted June 27, 2006 EST

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Firefighter's Bias Claim Refused
A federal court has rejected a Newport News firefighter's claim that she was the victim of gender discrimination because administrators didn't promote her to captain during four promotion periods, the last one in January 2004. Jonnie Sue Hux had appealed a district court judgment that denied her claim of gender discrimination. She said she had been discriminated against when she applied for promotion to the rank of captain.

The ruling, issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, cited Hux's "chronic problems with personal interactions," "numerous instances of unprofessional behavior," and her lack of experience compared to other applicants as support for the city's refusal to promote her.

Hux joined the fire department in 1990 and rose through the ranks at the department.

She became a fire lieutenant in 1999, but her "tenure as fire lieutenant was characterized by continuous friction with her subordinates and fellow officers," according to the ruling.

During one of Hux's interviews for promotion to captain, fire administrators worried that Hux "might not possess the composure required" for high-stress situations after "her voice cracked and tears welled up in her eyes" toward the end of the meeting.

Hux, who could not be reached for comment, has since been promoted to captain. Her attorney, Carolyn P. Carpenter, did not return a call seeking comment. It was unclear whether they planned to appeal again.


Written by Daily Press

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