June 19th, 2014 | by SAMANTHA MATSUMOTO News | Posted In: Business, Cops and Courts, Multnomah County

Port of Portland Sued for Gender Discrimination

port_of_portland_terminal_6Port of Portland terminal 6

A female dredge operator for the Port of Portland who says she’s been the victim of gender discrimination in the past is alleging the port’s illegal practices are continuing. 

Katherine Kirkland, the port’s only female dredge operator, says she was fired because she is a woman, and that the port retaliated against her after she complained about her treatment. 

She filed a lawsuit last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court against the port and the International Union of Operating Engineers, which she says failed to protect her from getting fired by the port. 

Kirkland says the port settled a 2012 lawsuit she brought alleging she had been passed over for promotion and given fewer overtime hours than male employees, even though she had more seniority. 

Her new lawsuit says the discrimination continued until she was fired in April. She alleges in the lawsuit that her union didn’t tell her in time to allow her to challenge the firing. The union had no comment on the suit. 

She’s seeking $600,000 in damages. 

Port of Portland spokeswoman Kama Simonds said the port cannot comment on the suit, since it is an ongoing case. 

Simonds says the port now has one female dredge operator out of 13, and three women in its navigation department of 48. The current female dredge operator was hired as a replacement for Kirkland. 

 
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