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Police dispatcher claims sexual harassment

An Orange County, California, police dispatcher has filed a civil suit claiming that the Newport Beach police chief perpetuated a hostile work environment that ultimately led to her wrongful termination. Not only is the chief named in the suit, but the city and the police department have also been targeted by the civil claim.

The woman alleges that she was the target of inappropriate comments made by the police chief. The problems started after the woman's husband, a former officer, testified against the department as part of a separate case. The woman was let go from the department in February 2012 after 22 years of loyal service to the city.

News reports show that the woman's husband also filed a wrongful termination and retaliation suit in connection with his testimony. That man was fired in 2011. He filed a civil claim in July 2012; that lawsuit is still pending.

The woman claims that the chief called her into his office for an hour-and-a-half meeting about her husband's misconduct, alleging that the man had misused department computers. That August 2010 meeting sparked a trend of sexually harassing activities; the chief began to sit uncomfortably close to the woman during her work day, for example, in an attempt to intimidate her and telling her that he liked her in an intimate way. Even though the woman reported the incidents, no changes were ever enacted.

Courtroom documents allege that the woman was terminated, in part, because of her response to an emotionally taxing emergency call. Instead of providing psychological support, the department used her emotional response to justify terminating her employment 11 months after the incident.

No one should have to suffer through emotional difficulties at their workplace. If you or a loved one is experiencing harassment at work, consider enlisting the services of a qualified employment attorney. These legal professionals can help you learn more about your rights and responsibilities. They can also help you get the money you deserve.

Source:  latimes.com, "Ex-Newport Beach dispatcher claims sexual harassment by chief in suit" Jill Cowan, May. 03, 2013

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