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Lesbian LAPD Officers Net $1.25M in Sex Harassment Case

The embattled Los Angeles Police Department has agreed to pay $1.25 million to two lesbian officers after the duo reportedly experienced a hostile work environment. This settlement is the latest in a string of six- and seven-figure settlements stemming from the actions of California's LAPD, which has been plagued by accusations of retaliation, discrimination and sexual harassment. In this case, the two women said they were repeatedly harassed by a supervisor.

The settlement allowed all parties to avoid a trial.

Both women, one of whom is now retired, alleged that their supervisor made inappropriate comments toward them while at work. The man, a 25-year veteran of the force, also propositioned the two women. Several complaints to the supervisor's senior officers were ignored, and the women continued to experience harassment. The man has since been fired from the LAPD.

Luckily, the women's claims were supported by statements from other officers in the department. Many of the other officers who witnessed the abuse were prepared to testify in a trial, according to courtroom reports.

LAPD leaders have been continually under fire because of the continuing controversy surrounding the suit, which is one of many that have recently resulted in large settlements. The civilian board that oversees the force is calling for investigation into the department's repeated violations of employment law; the continuing problems are ultimately costing taxpayers millions because supervisors are failing to take appropriate actions.

The women in this case sought financial compensation for hostile work environment, but they may also have received some punitive damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of income. Workplace sexual harassment is an incredibly stressful problem. Law enforcement officers already operate in an intense environment, so the hostile work situation only exacerbated their emotional response to their jobs. Men and women who suffer from hostile work environments should consider filing civil suits to recover compensatory and punitive damages.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "L.A. OKs $1.25-million payout to two lesbian LAPD officers," Joel Rubin, March 20, 2013

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