Former paramedic sues fire department for harassment

Jeffrey Dean said he was told to teach his new partner to “keep his mouth shut”

By EMS1 Staff

BERLIN, Md. — A former paramedic is suing a fire department, claiming that harassment and retaliation against him led to his termination.

Del Marva Now reported that Jeffrey Dean worked at Berlin Fire Company from 2005 to 2013. In 2011, Dean was assigned a new paramedic partner, Zackery Tyndall. Dean said he was told to teach Tyndall to “keep his mouth shut” because leadership deemed him to be causing trouble.

Tyndall was allegedly the subject of harassment, retaliation and unwanted physical sexual contact because the fire company members thought he was gay, according to the lawsuit.

“Tyndall began to complain to his supervisors and as he did, the pressure on him increased and boiled over onto Dean as well,” the lawsuit said.

Dean said he witnessed Tyndall being groped by Chief Byron Trimble and Assistant Chief Derrick Simpson, but pressure was put on him to keep Tyndall quiet by EMS Supervisor Norris Donohue, Chief Trimble and Simpson.

Dean also claimed fire company members harassed the only black member of the department and the female administrative assistant.

In 2012, Dean and Tyndall made a complaint with the mayor and the town’s director of human resources. Donohue was dismissed, but the fire company allegedly turned against Dean and Tyndall.

Dean became ill from stress and went on medical leave. On the same day he returned and was told to undergo training, Tyndall was fired. He later sued the fire company.

Dean completed his training and was ready to return to work, but he and his son were hit by a drunk driver and his return was delayed due to his injuries. He said he was fired soon after that.

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