BERLIN – A former paramedic has filed a $500,000 lawsuit alleging discrimination and harassment against the Berlin Fire Company.
Two years after an $8 million harassment case against the Berlin Fire Company (BFC) was settled, a second lawsuit has been initiated by Jeffrey Dean, a former BFC paramedic and firefighter.
The case, filed by attorney James Otway Sept. 12 in U.S. District Court, alleges that the fire company violated the protections put forth by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees — and claims that Dean was a victim of harassment and retaliation for his support of Zack Tyndall, the former BFC member — now a Town of Berlin councilman —who filed the initial harassment case against the organization.
According to the 16-page lawsuit, Dean was hired by the fire company in 2005 and had a clean disciplinary record when he was assigned to work as Tyndall’s partner in 2011. BFC leaders reportedly told Dean “that Tyndall was reassigned to work with him because Tyndall had been complaining a lot and causing trouble and leadership wanted Dean to teach him to ‘keep his mouth shut.’”
The lawsuit states that though Dean had already witnessed incidents of harassment committed by several members of BFC leadership, during the ensuing months Tyndall told him about his own experiences.