Review of Fairfax fire department finds workplace bullying

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) -- Nearly 40 percent of Fairfax County firefighters who responded to a recent survey say they have either experienced or witnessed bullying within the fire department.

That finding was included in a report released Wednesday by consultants who had been hired to analyze the workplace culture after 31-year-old firefighter-paramedic Nicole Mittendorff killed herself last year.

It's unclear whether cyberbullying played a role in Mittendorff's death in April, but she had faced online harassment and bullying, possibly by colleagues.

More than 23 percent of respondents reported experiencing or seeing sexual harassment.

The report also concluded that firefighters largely do not trust the department's leaders, citing a lack of accountability, integrity and consistency.

About 1,500 employees -- 62 percent of the department -- responded to the survey last fall.

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