Cadet files sexual harassment lawsuit against department

A California police cadet has filed a lawsuit accusing a lieutenant of sexual harassment. The woman claims the harassment resulted in the loss of her job. The lawsuit is the second against the lieutenant, although only one concerns sexual harassment.

The woman went to work for the Irwindale Police Department approximately four years ago. She claims the lieutenant made physical advances toward her in the office and in city vehicles, according to a news report. She denied the man's advances, but says that the work environment became difficult to handle. After she gave in to the man's advances and apparently began a relationship with him, reportedly under duress because of the poor work environment he created, the officer stated he would give her a permanent position. The lawsuit claims the man presented the woman with multiple gifts, including gift cards, jewelry and an expensive purse.

When he was deposed, he did not deny his behavior but stated the two were friends. He also stated he gave the woman money and helped her out on several occasions, including renting out his condo to her. However, the woman claims she was forced to quit after she allowed her boyfriend to move into the condo with her. After this occurred and the defendant told her to vacate his condo, he arranged a meeting between them and reportedly stated he couldn't work with her anymore. During the encounter, he told her the meeting was her required two weeks' notice, but the woman handed in her notice of resignation soon after.

When a California employee is the victim of sexual harassment, it is important to realize help is available. When normal avenues are not effective in curbing inappropriate behavior, it may be time to seek out other options. Legal assistance could help employees involved in awkward and uncomfortable situations like this. Sexual harassment is against the law and sometimes taking legal action is necessary to send a strong message to employers about such behaviors.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Ex-Irwindale police cadet charges sexual harassment by lieutenant," Adalfo Flores, Jan. 3, 2013

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