Every job here in Colorado is different, but many employers use training sessions to educate their employees about diversity and discrimination in the workplace. Doing so can help bring attention to potential problems before they get out of hand. However, sometimes employees can still create a hostile working environment for others even when they know better. Unfortunately for a female police officer in another Western state, this appears to have been a major issue in the workplace.
According to a recent report, the female officer - a member of the state capitol police in Nevada - has accepted a settlement of her sexual harassment and age discrimination claim. The report indicates that the female officer will receive a payment of $99,999.00. It appears that issues this female officer encountered originated from the behavior and comments of five other officers - all male - including a sergeant. The comments ranged from remarks about the female officer's age - she's 40-years-old - to sexually suggestive remarks.
These types of lewd comments and sexual innuendo have no place in any workplace. Whether offensive sexual comments are directed at one particular employee or if they simply work to create an unpleasant and uncomfortable work environment, employees engaged in this type of behavior need to be confronted. In this case, the sergeant who was alleged to have been involved was fired from the capitol police force. The other officers also received some form of punishment, although the reports did not indicate what specific sanctions were enacted.
Employers in Colorado and elsewhere may want to think about the benefits of educating their employees, particularly those on the management level, about how to identify and avoid sexual harassment in the workplace. Failure to do so could lead to legal action.
Source: Las Vegas Sun, "State to pay $99,999 over Capitol Police sexual harassment suit," Cy Ryan, Feb. 21, 2014