Responding Appropriately To Harassment Complaint Insulates Employer From Liability

In her first two weeks as a patrol officer for the City of Fort Pierce, Florida, Nicole Patsalides reported that she was sexually harassed by a co-worker. During that time, by her account, a male patrol officer with whom she worked touched her repeatedly in ways that she considered to be inappropriate, and in general showed an undue interest in her. Over the relevant two-week period, the male officer…

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Court Upholds $700,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict

It is rare to find a court’s opinion that starts off with the fury found in the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in a lawsuit brought by Lori Franchina against the Providence Fire Department. After a jury awarded Franchina $700,000 in damages and a trial court added $184,000 in legal fees, the City challenged the decision on appeal. The 60-page Appeals Court’s decision begins, “Sticks and stones…

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Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment Case Against Sheriff Heading To Trial

Toni Duncan, a corrections deputy for Dakota County, Nebraska, sued the County for hostile work environment sexual harassment. The County sought summary judgment in the case, arguing that Duncan’s evidence was insufficient to allow the case to go to trial. In opposing summary judgment, Duncan testified that rumors of sexual activity permeated the job. She further stated that on her first day of employment, the Chief Deputy warned her…

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Firefighter Gay Pride Verdict Upheld

The annual San Diego Pride Parade is a celebration of the local gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities. Four members of the City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department – John Ghiotto, Chad Allison, Jason Hewitt and Alexander Kane – were given a direct order to participate in the Pride Parade against their will. After being forced to participate in the Pride Parade, the firefighters filed a lawsuit against the…

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Calling Female Officer ‘Darling’ Does Not Amount To Sexual Harassment

Stormy Magiera works for the Dallas, Texas Police Department. Magiera and a fellow officer, Sergeant Ingram, responded to a nightclub where they had heard a gunshot. Ingram became irritated at how Magiera was processing the scene, and asked her to “speed the process up and issue some people some tickets so they could get out of there.” To the contrary, Magiera believed that the responding officer should arrest some…

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