Fairfax County Lt. Named Worst Boss in US

The results of 2012 America’s Worst Bosses competition have been released, and the winner is a fire lieutenant from Fairfax County Fire Rescue in Virginia.

Lt. Timothy Young topped a field of 49 other bad bosses in eBossWatch’s annual review. He was accused of sexually harassing a female subordinate, Mary Getts Bland, over the course of several years. Bland sued and was awarded $250,000 by a Federal Court jury. She also sought $306,000 in attorneys fees. The case was settled in May, 2012 for $250,000.

According to Bland, Lt. Young repeatedly brought up sexual issues with her, including asking about her sexual preferences and making sexually explicit remarks. Young allegedly also asked Bland to accompany him to an adult sex-toy shop and made sexually explicit phone calls to her. For his conduct, Young received a written reprimand.

Lt. Young was not the only firefighter among the list of America’s Worst Bosses For 2012. Sitting at 47 was former Stockton Fire Chief, Ron Hittle. He was accused of creating a racially hostile work environment. In November, the city paid $30,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Battalion Chief Ed Rodriguez. The organizers of eBossWatch apparently missed the other legal issues associated with Chief Hittle. Click here for more on Chief Hittle’s suit against Stockton.

According to eBossWatch “To date, the 2012 America’s Worst Bosses have cost their employers more than $41 million in monetary damages and lawsuit settlement payments. Of this amount, the worst bosses in the public sector have cost their respective taxpayers more than $21 million”.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
  • I received an off-line comment from a fire chief who wanted to remain anonymous – and I include it here only because the same thought crossed my mind: “I wonder if the organizers of the Worst Boss competition realize that many lieutenants do not even consider themselves to be “bosses” per se. More like a firefighter’s “big brother”.”

  • Walter

    In Fairfax, Lieutenants are defiantly supervisors and this guy has more in his “jacket” than this. Most officers would have been demoted for this and some have been for much less. This guy has been protected his entire carrer fo some reason.

  • John Ryan

    Sorry Curt, a lieutenant is definelty a boss. One that has to make fireground and other emergency decisions that the men will follow. It’s a dangerous assumption to be considered anything else. If your a Lieutenant and think your a big brother, pass the bars you don’t deserve them.

  • Walter and John

    My sarcasm has gotten me into trouble before… but I couldn’t resist. The ones most likely to think Lts are not really bosses are the Lts themselves. Some honestly believe (or at least act like) they are slightly higher paid firefighters, not bosses. Perhaps you know a few?

    Officers who refuse to act like officers… who just want the pay or the bars but not the responsibility…

  • Bobby

    I worked with this guy. You would not believe what other things he got away with. Fairfax has a long history of making things just go away. In Fairfax a Lt. is like the universal officer. They plug them in just about anywhere below the Batt Chief car. So in my opinion he is a frontline super.


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