Maryland Male-on-Male Harassment Suit Settled

An $8 million lawsuit filed in 2013 by a paramedic firefighter who claims co-workers harassed him over his effeminate demeanor has reportedly been settled.

Zackary C. Tyndall sued the Berlin Fire Company and four supervisors, Bryon Trimble, Derek Simpson, David A. Fitzgerald and Norris P Donohue in federal court alleging they engaged in a pattern and practice of harassment based upon their perception that he is homosexual. Tyndall, who is not gay, claims he was regularly called “queer”, “faggot”, and “cocksucker” by coworkers.

The fire department characterized the conduct as “teasing” and “horseplay”, suggesting that Tyndall even played along with it. Here is earlier coverage of the suit, including a copy of the complaint.

In July, US District Court Judge Ellen Hollander refused to dismiss the case finding that Tyndall’s allegations (if proven at trial) would constitute “gender stereotyping.”

The settlement was reached last week and involved a confidential amount. Delmarvanow .com quoted one of Tyndall’s attorneys, Amy Taylor, as saying “I can state that it was resolved to my client’s satisfaction.”

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.

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