Georgia Firefighter’s Sexual Harassment Suit Removed to Federal Court

A sexual harassment lawsuit filed last year in Superior Court for Macon County, Georgia by a volunteer firefighter, has been removed to federal court. Ondrea Zink filed suit against the City of Montezuma, Fire Chief Matthew Moye, and Mayor Larry Smith.

Zink claims Chief Moye sexually harassed her, placed hidden cameras in the firehouse to film her, and then retaliated against her when she reported his behavior. According to the complaint, an investigation into Chief Moye’s conduct by Georgia Bureau of Investigation exonerated him of any wrongdoing. However, Zink claims her hours were changed, she was reassigned to a different station, and ultimately she was removed from the duty schedule. She has not been allowed to worked since.

The initial complaint was filed on August 20, 2020 alleging a violation of Georgia’s whistleblower act, invasion of privacy, negligent retention, negligent supervision, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On November 30, 2020, Zink filed an amended complaint adding allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

Last week, the city removed the case to US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Here is a copy of the complaint:

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.
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