Orlando fire chief resigns following investigation into allegations of harassment

The Chief of the Orlando Fire Department has resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.  

Chief Roderick Williams submitted his resignation Thursday, writing in part, “While I categorically deny the allegations against me, I believe the focus of the Orlando Fire Department should be on serving and protecting the residents of Orlando and not on my leadership or my position.” 

A female firefighter alleges she has been discriminated against, denied promotions and sexually harassed.  The City of Orlando hired a private firm to investigate, which found there was not enough evidence to support her claims.  

However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also conducted an investigation.  It found that the alleged victim has been subjected to discriminatory treatment, continuous retaliatory conduct and sexual harassment by the Fire Chief.  

The EEOC investigation also revealed that the Orlando Fire Department failed to conduct a fair and objective investigation into her allegations of discrimination by two Deputy Chiefs and the Fire Chief.  It called the Fire Department’s investigation “faulty and biased.”   The EEOC says the Fire Department’s current sexual harassment policy is outdated.