Tiburon fire agency settles sex-harassment lawsuit for $500,000
The Tiburon Fire Protection District has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee alleging a supervisor regularly made explicit comments toward her and that the district failed to protect her for months after senior officials, including the chief, were made aware of her complaints.
The payout to Tara Murphy was covered by the district’s insurance and ends nearly three years of litigation between the parties. In a May 20 press release, the fire district said the settlement was not an admission of liability and that it chose to settle to terminate “considerable additional fees and costs required to proceed through trial.”
Murphy filed the suit in Marin Superior Court in 2019, seeking unspecified damages from both firefighter Grant Euless and the fire district for alleged harassment, failure to prevent harassment and creating a hostile work environment. She said she was the target of sustained sexual harassment from Euless, who sometimes served as her supervisor, over a period of several months beginning shortly after she started working for the district as a firefighter-trainee in August 2015.
Euless, who still works for the district, was eventually disciplined by the agency — including six shifts’ suspension without pay — after an investigation into Murphy’s allegations found he had violated the district’s sexual-harassment policies. However, Murphy’s suit said the district “failed to take prompt and effective remedial action to end and address the illegal conduct” after she reported Euless’ behavior to various senior officers at least nine months before it launched its investigation into Euless in October 2016.