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Bryant Whitten, LLP

City police chief accused of sexual harassment

Residents of California may be interested to learn of a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court that alleges that the Newport Beach police chief sexually harassed a former police dispatcher who was dismissed in February 2012. According to the L.A. Times, the female dispatcher alleges that the chief used his position to intimidate her and that he made inappropriate comments over the course of three years. The alleged incidents followed a 2008 case in which her husband, who was a city police officer at the time, testified against the department in another court case. The case of alleged workplace sexual harassment follows an array of other troubles between the couple and the police chief. The accuser's husband was fired from his position in 2011 and sued the city last year for wrongful termination and retaliation. The accuser has an outstanding administrative appeal against the police department for her 2012 firing. Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious offense, and one that must be scrutinized even closer when taken in context with the other charges made against the police chief. Sexual harassment can have a severely detrimental effect on the psyche of the abused. The situation would only be intensified if the accuser's husband were also experiencing intimidation and harassment from the perpetrator at the same time. In California, anyone found in such an untenable workplace environment because sexual harassment and hostile treatment should definitely consider enlisting the help of an attorney. Attempting to handle such a situation with management personnel on your own can put you at risk of further harassment or a potentially undeserved dismissal from the company. Lawyers may help people who believe that they have experienced sexual harassment seek compensation for the conduct.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Ex-Newport Beach dispatcher claims sexual harassment by chief in suit", Jill Cowan, May 03, 2013

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