An African American police officer claims that her superior made sexual advances, causing her great duress on the job. In the sexual harassment case that she filed, the woman says that a male lieutenant made inappropriate comments and touched her inappropriately. Further, she claims she was retaliated against after reporting his behavior to other superior officers. Retaliation against sexual harassment victims who report the incident is not uncommon in California or elsewhere. Especially when the threat of retaliation exists, it can be particularly damaging to victims because they are afraid to speak out and the harassment continues.
Based on the description of the events, the woman may also be the victim of race discrimination. However, it is not known if such claims were included in her suit. Race discrimination can take many forms, from name calling to failure to receive a promotion due to race. Some victims are even fired simply because of the color of their skin.
In this case, the female police officer claims that her superior officer touched her sexually without her permission. Further, she says that when she recoiled after the officer tried to massage her in a sensual way, he made a racial comment, asking whether or not she was attracted to white men. On top of that, she stated that the officer invited her to his house when his wife would not be home.
After the woman told superiors about the repeated sexual harassment, she directed to go to a police psychologist. The psychologist decided that she was under too much stress and that she had been drinking excessive alcohol. As a consequence, she was given a 30-day suspension and instructed to attend drug rehabilitation.
The woman’s attorneys argue that the only motivation behind her suspension from work was to retaliate against her for reporting the harassment. In other words, her attorneys are saying that she was being punished and effectively silenced after voicing her concerns. If what the attorneys are saying in this sexual harassment case is true, then this woman was severely mistreated. No one in California or any other state should have to experience sexual harassment on the job, but powerful laws and legal strategies exist to help victims seek compensation for lost wages, psychological turmoil and other financial damages that resulted from the mistreatment.
Source: New York Daily News, “‘Terribly abused’ female police officer files sexual harassment lawsuit against lieutenant,” John Marzulli, June 17, 2013