Firefighter's Sharing Of Nude Photos Leads To $275,000 DOJ Settlement With Baltimore County Fire Department


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BALTIMORE COUNTY - The Baltimore County Fire Department (BCoFD) has reached a $275,000 agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve allegations of sexual harassment against female employees. 

The agreement, announced on Tuesday, follows a complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, which claimed that a male employee had distributed and solicited nude photographs of several female employees on a social media platform in June 2017.

The complaint alleges that the Department failed to take immediate and appropriate action - perpetuating a hostile work environment.

"Every workplace should foster respect and dignity for all employees, period," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) initially investigated the matter and found reasonable cause to believe that the BCoFD had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on factors including sex. After unsuccessful efforts to resolve the matter, the case was referred to the DOJ.

The settlement, if approved by the court, will require Baltimore County to pay $275,000 in compensation to the 11 female employees affected by the harassment. Additionally, the Fire Department will develop and implement a DOJ-approved revised fair practices policy and complaint investigation process. The Department is also mandated to provide live, interactive, annual training on these subjects for all employees and to administer a workplace climate survey to gauge employees' views on their work environment.

"All employees have a fundamental right to be free from harassment of any kind in the workplace," said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. "While this incident occurred prior to our administration, we are entering into this agreement with our federal partners to ensure Baltimore County continues working to promote a safe, supportive workplace free from discrimination in all its forms."

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