The Borough of Lawnside has agreed to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by a female police officer who alleged she began experiencing harassment and discrimination almost from Day 1.
Officer Carmen Chapman said a sergeant began making work difficult for her after she rebuffed his romantic advances. Among the charges: that he told other officers not to respond when Chapman called for backup and denied her access to necessary equipment.
When Chapman injured her knee, she was off work for nine months. Despite a department policy granting officers one year of paid time off for disability, her pay was suspended. When she was cleared for a light-duty assignment, her supervisor refused to place her in a desk job.
She sued, and ultimately the department agreed to settle without admitting any wrongdoing. The $350,000 settlement includes $100,000 in legal fees.
Note: Retaliation is hot. Don’t feed the fire. When an employee has already lodged complaints, don’t attempt to punish her. A jury will probably see such behavior as confirmation of the employee’s charges.
- Courts limit punitive damages in discrimination cases
- Know the limits of employee free speech—no need to tolerate out-of-line protests
- Take extra anti-harassment steps with younger workers
- Heaven-sent policy advice for supervisors: No proselytizing or urging workers to convert
- Document discharge reasons before taking action