Recently, a young female New York Police Department (NYPD) recruit suffered a barrage of inappropriate comments and conduct from a more senior male lieutenant. The events culminated in the recruit seeking official action to address the harassment.
Harassment Began Early
It began with a demeaning but tolerated practice. The lieutenant selected the recruit to patrol with him. It is a common practice for higher ranking NYPD male officers to select young and attractive female recruits as their drivers.
At the NYPD this practice is so common that it is accepted as “normal,” despite being an unwelcome power play. Since this was an accepted practice, the recruit felt powerless to challenge it.
Once the recruit and lieutenant were in the patrol car alone, the harassment began in earnest. At first, the recruit was instructed to drive the lieutenant outside of their designated patrol area to perform his personal errands. On one errand she drove him to midtown Manhattan to get his teeth cleaned. Afterwards, she says he leaned in to her to ask how his teeth looked, mentioning that the dental hygienist thought he was sexy.
Repeated and Unwanted Sexual Remarks Ensued
The harassment continued. The lieutenant made repeated unwelcome sexual remarks and overtures. In one instance, the recruit recalls the lieutenant was interested in being involved with her in a “threesome” with his wife.
Retaliation for Resistance
The recruit continued to rebuff the lieutenant’s suggestions for sexual encounters. She claims that the lieutenant decided to retaliate for her refusals. She recalls the lieutenant directing another supervisor to tell her to arrest a suspect known to be unstable, without warning her of the danger. She was physically attacked by the suspect during the arrest.
Afterwards, the lieutenant remarked that he hoped she’d learned her lesson.
The recruit did not want to jeopardize her chances at advancement. This is the predicament that many employees find themselves in when a supervisor or other superior in an organization acts inappropriately.
Complaint Filed and Substantiated
Ultimately, at the urging of her union, the recruit filed a harassment claim against the lieutenant with the NYPD Office of Equity and Inclusion. The complaint was investigated, and the harassment substantiated. The lieutenant has since been demoted and reassigned to another precinct.
The recruit also filed a claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC investigation is not yet complete. The former lieutenant’s lawyers have publicly denied their client’s wrongdoing and claim there is a larger story to be told.
Expect a Harassment-Free Workplace
Sexual harassment on the job is not something that has to be tolerated. Employers are required to assure that employees are not harassed, sexually or otherwise, while on the job.
Some jobs, like police work, make it difficult for employers to monitor employee conduct. Yet employers are still accountable to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Middletown Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Assist Employees Who Have Been Subjected to Harassment
If you have been sexually harassed at work, there are laws designed to protect you. Before things escalate to intolerable proportions, seek the advice of an experienced Middletown sexual harassment lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.. We will work with you to defend your case and end the harassment. Early intervention can help avoid escalation of the harassment and potential retaliatory actions. We understand this is a difficult situation to confront.
Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.