Skip to main content
Bullying at the Fire Station? Perceptions Based on Gender, Race and Sexual Orientation
National Workplace Bullying Coalition (2015)
  • John C. Griffith
  • Donna L. Roberts
  • Ronald T. Wakeham
Discrimination and strained co-worker relationships based on gender, race or sexual orientation are forms of bullying in the workplace. This research examines firefighter perceptions with regard to bullying as defined above. Survey questions were based on the National Report Card on Women and Firefighting study (Hulett, Bendick, Thomas & Miccio, 2008). The web-based survey was distributed through the National Fire Academy Training, Resources and Data Exchange Network, (TRADENET). Findings from 113 completed surveys indicated that most firefighters did not perceive bullying issues were pervasive in the fire service. However there were large differences in perception between female and male firefighters. Significantly more female (than male) firefighters believed they were treated differently due to gender, felt their supervisors did not address complaints concerning gender or sexual orientation, had ill-fitting uniforms or equipment, and promotions were not decided upon fairly. Findings in this study were consistent with the 2008 National Report Card on Women and Firefighting study. Recommendations included continued efforts to assess female and minority perceptions with regard to perceived discrimination, lack of mentoring, discrimination and promotion issues. Additionally, the issue of ill-fitting equipment needs to be addressed. Future researchers and fire service leadership should identify best practices in leadership and firefighter training to effectively address fair treatment for all firefighters to include facilities and equipment.
  • fire service,
  • glass ceiling,
  • sexual harassment,
  • female firefighters
Publication Date
October 23, 2015
Publisher Statement
Presentation for the National Workplace Bullying Coalition Bullying Conference, October 22-23, 2015, Shippensburg, PA
Citation Information
John C. Griffith, Donna L. Roberts and Ronald T. Wakeham. "Bullying at the Fire Station? Perceptions Based on Gender, Race and Sexual Orientation" National Workplace Bullying Coalition (2015)
Available at: