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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Second sexual harassment suit fosters hope for change

In California workplaces – and anywhere else in the nation -- sexual harassment is prohibited. Sexual harassment generally involves the making of obscene remarks or unwanted sexual advances, typically – though not always -- directed against women. In another state, a woman has stepped forward to file a lawsuit against the city's police department where she works; this suit follows close on the heels of the first sexual harassment suit in which this same woman assisted another who was suffering harassment at the hands of co-workers and supervisors.

This second female officer filed a lawsuit containing allegations that she has been subjected to discrimination because of her sexual orientation as a lesbian. She also complains that she has been retaliated against and ostracized for her participation in the previous harassment lawsuit. This lawsuit states that the plaintiff expressed concern over the lack of females in supervisory positions, with all rules and regulations having been made by males with no input from women. She complains that female officers are regularly harassed sexually by male police officers on the force but that the women have no options.

The female officer was singled out and treated with hostility by the supervisor against whom she had spoken out during the previous court case. When she complained about his treatment of her, she was transferred and denied the opportunity for up to $15,000 in overtime pay. Her mistreatment is not recent, however, and goes as far back as to her training in the police academy, when she was publicly outed and repeatedly ridiculed for her sexual orientation.

Because of the ongoing poor treatment to which she has been submitted, as well as the lost overtime pay, the female officer is seeking damages for humiliation, emotional distress, an injured reputation and lost wages and benefits. Some have expressed hope that this second sexual harassment lawsuit, so closely following the first against the same police department, will foster a change in the hostile work environment created by the allegedly inappropriate behavior of the male officers there. Any woman in California who has likewise been subjected to harassment of a sexual nature at her workplace may benefit from consulting an attorney with experience in similar cases, who can offer counsel on legal rights and possible steps to consider next.

Source: trentonian.com, "Another female Trenton officer files sexual harassment lawsuit against city", David Foster, Feb. 24, 2017

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