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L.A. police officer wins $2.3 million in harassment suit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A federal jury has awarded $2.3 million to a Los Angeles police officer who claimed that male officers sexually harassed her. Melissa Borck, who remains an officer, sued the city for violating the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Borck claimed that in 1996 and 1997, while she worked at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Traffic Division, she suffered both physical and verbal harassment. For example, she alleged that male officers regularly made lewd comments about women and on several occasions hid her patrol car. She also claimed that a male officer kissed her and that another officer inappropriately touched her.

The jury in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California delivered a unanimous verdict in Borck’s favor. It awarded her $1.3 million in economic damages, and $1 million in noneconomic damages.

This was the second trial on Borck’s harassment claim. She originally filed her case 10 years ago, but after the end of the trial, Judge Terry Hatter ordered a new trial. A court clerk had overheard a juror remark that they were “not here to hear about her dead baby,” referring to an incident in which Borck had gone into premature labor and lost her baby.

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