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White Plains officer sues for harassment and discrimination

A woman has filed a sexual harassment and employment discrimination lawsuit against the City of White Plains, New York, and its police department. The woman works as a police officer for the city. She says that she has been subjected to egregious sexual harassment from supervisors and also suffered discrimination while in the force, due to her race or national origin.

Among the issues of workplace harassment, the woman says that a lieutenant with the While Plains Police frequently made sexually charged remarks, asked the female officer to perform sexual favors and also requested that she take nude photographs of female workers for the police while they used the female locker room. Her lawsuit says that another man from the police department had made unwanted advances, including making sexual comments and engaging in unwanted physical acts of touching.

She says that she complained of the hostile work environment, and even asked for reassignment. But, her lawsuit says that the department retaliated against her for complaining. Among the adverse employment actions that she has suffered since complaining of the workplace harassment, the officer says that she was not only denied the reassignment, but also was denied promotional and training opportunities with the department.

Retaliation for complaining over discriminatory practices is unlawful under the law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that harassment is a form of discrimination under federal civil rights laws, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Generally, harassment may involve unwanted offensive comments, jokes and slurs. But, workplace harassment can also include unwanted physical contact or threats based upon a person’s race, national origin or gender (among other recognized classes of people). A random joke or two may not constitute a hostile work environment, but a pattern of harassment is unlawful.

A New York employment law attorney can assess an individual set of circumstances and provide advice to workers who have suffered workplace discrimination or harassment.

Source: The Journal News, “White Plains officer claims bosses harassed her in lawsuit,” Erik Shilling and Richard Liebson, Aug. 17, 2013

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