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Unwanted sexual advances led to lawsuit against police department

Our Colorado readers have probably seen previous posts here that noted how it seems to be more common for women in traditionally male-dominated professions to become the victims of harassment. Sexual harassment, in particular, is a concern in some of these professions, and law enforcement jobs may be one of the toughest of all for women.

According to a recent report, this appears to have been the case for one female police officer, and as a result she has filed a lawsuit against her employer. The female officer has alleged that a male officer - who was in a superior rank - on at least two occasions over the course of four years subjected the female officer to unwanted sexual advances while they were both actively on patrol and on the job. The female officer has alleged that these incidents took place after the male officer had requested that she meet him in a "secluded area."

On a positive note, it appears that after the female officer complained about this behavior to the police department the situation was addressed. However, the manner in which it was addressed was entirely unsatisfactory, according to the female officer. She has claimed that while the male officer was demoted because of his behavior, the demotion actually led to a situation where the female officer and the male officer who harassed her now have to share the same office. This appears to have been the last straw for the female officer, and it led to her sexual harassment lawsuit.

Pursuing a sexual harassment claim after a situation has already been addressed in the workplace can be tricky. However, if the response was inadequate, as the officer in this case claims, the case could lead to a positive result for the plaintiff.

Source: Herald-Mail Media, "Martinsburg police officer files sexual harassment suit," Matthew Umstead, April 9, 2014

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