Federal employment rights laws are in place to, among other things, protect employees from illegal sexual harassment in the workplace. When some type of harassment does take place, workers are expected to report it to their superiors so the issue can be addressed and stopped. Sometimes, however, an employer may have the appropriate response to a sexual harassment claim and the victim may be further victimized.
A female New York police officer is reportedly serving out a 30-day suspension after filing a sexual harassment complaint against one of her superiors on the force. According to the officer, a NYPD psychologist suspended her for refusing to comply with an order for alcohol treatment. The doctor purportedly determined she was abusing alcohol at a department ordered psychological examination that she was subjected to after reporting the inappropriate behavior.
The female officer claims that she was subject to unwanted sexual advances, including inappropriate touching accompanied by suggestively lewd comments. The woman also reportedly claims that seven other female officers confessed to her they had shared similar experiences with the superior. For his part, the lieutenant she has accused denies the sexual harassment. According to reports, the department sent him to a seminar on “professionalism in the workplace” and took away 10 of his vacation days. It was not reported whether and investigation was, or would be conducted, or if the officer accused of the harassment could face additional, harsher punishment in the future.
Based on the alleged sexual harassment and subsequent unlawful retaliation, the woman has chosen to file a sexual harassment lawsuit. If you have been a victim of harassment in your workplace, you may also have legal recourse. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you to fully understand your options and determine how best to proceed in your particular situation.
Source: New York Daily News, “’Terribly abused’ female police officer files sexual harassment lawsuit against lieutenant”, John Marzulli, June 17, 2013