Hillsborough County

Tampa drops appeal against female firefighter in harassment case

The City of Tampa has decided to drop an appeal against a city firefighter in a federal lawsuit that alleged sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination.

Tanja Vidovic joined Tampa Fire Rescue in 2008 and says harassment started from the time she first stepped into the workplace.

"Even before I was pregnant, even when I was in the basic training portion of it, I had captains touch my breasts. Even before I was pregnant I had captains requesting sex from me," said Vidovic.

She says discrimination began after she became pregnant.

"My captain failed my yearly evaluation, citing that I was pregnant. The district chief agreed with him and also said that he didn't think I should be working while pregnant and when I filed a complaint about pregnancy discrimination and harassment, HR did nothing. The mayor did nothing," said Vidovic.

She filed a federal lawsuit against the city and a jury awarded her $245,000.

Friday, Vidovic spoke publicly about the case for the first time at the Café Con Lecture series.

When she spoke to the breakfast gathering, Vidovic and her attorney believed the city was still considering an appeal of the case. By Friday afternoon, the city reversed course on the appeal.

Tampa City spokeswoman Ashley Bauman says an appeal was not in the best interest of the City.

"While we continue to disagree with the verdict, after reviewing what would be involved with an appeal, we decided it's in the best interest of the city, its employees and our commitment to a positive workplace environment to move forward. It is important to note that the judge and jury did not find that Tanja Vidovic was sexually harassed nor was she subject to a hostile work place and in fact dismissed those accusations," said Bauman.

Vidovic says she filed the lawsuit and is speaking out now against the actions of some in the department for those who feel they can not speak up.

Vidovic says she looks forward to regaining her job as a Tampa firefighter.

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