A female police officer recently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after enduring about four years of sexual harassment from her boss in the internal affairs bureau.
The woman says that she was the victim of unwanted sexual advances, coercion, sexual harassment, and a range of other reprehensible conduct that would be objectionable even if it wasn’t happening in the workplace.
The fact that the man perpetrating the harassment was himself in charge of hearing complaints about these issues within the police department raises serious issues with the protection of other victims with the department and the culture of the department as a whole.
In fact, several other female police officers have come forward to say that the department did have a culture of harassment and sexual misconduct towards female employees. One remembered being pressured by male coworkers to engage in sexual activity with a superior and said that at that time, there was nowhere to turn for help.
Many women who work in male-dominated fields may experience this same situation at work and may feel powerless to stop the abuse. In this case, female officers were told that they would be fired for resisting and several experienced retaliation for refusing to engage in sexual acts with their bosses or colleagues. The woman pursuing this EEOC claim was transferred to another department after confiding in a coworker who then reported the misconduct to upper management. She was forced to leave her new job immediately because of the hostile work environment created by the spread of information that she had reported misconduct.
The victim in this case says that she is finally speaking out and pursuing a claim against the department and the man responsible so that this won’t continue to happen to other female officers.
For more information about sexual harassment in the workplace, visit our Minnesota employment law website.
Source: Daily News, “Policewoman says she endured years of sexual harassment by internal affairs boss,” Barbara Laker & David Gambacorta, August 8, 2012.