Female firefighter suing fire dept. over sexual harassment

The lawsuit alleges equipment tampering, clothing destruction, gender-related slurs and denial of promotions


COLUMBUS, Ohio — A female firefighter is suing her fire department, claiming she's a longtime victim of sexual harassment and has been subjected to equipment tampering, clothing destruction and gender-related slurs.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Amie Morningstar, with the Circleville (Ohio) Fire Department, alleges she was also required to meet tougher training and work standards than her male counterparts and was denied promotions because she’s a woman.

The harassment got worse after she reported it to her superiors, according to the report.

She claims someone urinated in her shampoo bottle, placed bodily fluid on her blanket in the firehouse bunk and cut holes in her T-shirts. Her equipment, including her face mask, was tampered with, and her firefighter gloves and hoods were repeatedly taken.

"Morningstar has been subjected to retaliation, discrimination, and unwelcome sexual harassment, including but not limited to, sexual advances and/or requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature," according to the lawsuit filed by attorneys Brian Duncan and Greg Barwell.

She's asking a judge to order an immediate end to the alleged harassment and award damages of more than $75,000.

Fire Chief Marc Zingarelli, accused in the lawsuit of frequently directing gender-related slurs at Morningstar, did not comment on the lawsuit.

Morningstar, the department’s only female firefighter, was a volunteer firefighter from 2003 to 2007, after which she was hired to be full-time.

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