Female sheriff’s deputy files lawsuit alleging sexual harassment

Posted in Sexual Harassment on October 6, 2014

Women who go into traditionally male professions usually do so with an understanding that they may face some obstacles. High-testosterone professions like law enforcement, construction and firefighting certainly have a place for women, but they are often subjected to gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Such a case is apparently happening in nearby Marin County. A female sheriff’s deputy recently filed a federal lawsuit alleging that she and her female coworkers have been subjected to a hostile work environment as well as “gender-based discriminatory policies and practices.”

The plaintiff filed the lawsuit using a “Jane Doe” pseudonym due to concerns for her personal safety. She also says she resisted filing a lawsuit for a long time because as a single mother with children to support, she feared losing her job.

According to news sources, the hostile work environment included male colleagues who regularly described their sexual exploits in graphic detail. This talk became even more inappropriate over time, and included sexually offensive comments.

The plaintiff also claims that when she complained to superiors, her concerns were dismissed and no corrective action was taken. She was also allegedly passed over for a promotion in favor of male colleagues.

When an employer tolerates or even promotes a sexually hostile and discriminatory work environment, it is not just discrimination victims who pay a price. Workplaces like this tend to be less productive overall with lower workplace morale and less congeniality among colleagues. A few employees may bond with one another through inappropriate jokes and conversation, but many other employees are left feeling alienated.

Standing up for yourself at work can be a scary prospect, especially if you are a woman working in a mostly male environment. But if such behavior is allowed to continue, it will only get worse. Therefore, it should be addressed immediately.

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle, “Marin deputy files sexual harassment lawsuit,” Henry K. Lee, Oct. 2, 2014