Working as a police officer, one would expect fellow officers to follow the law and maintain a work environment free of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, as one female officer can attest.
The woman, who was originally hired by the police department in 2006, says that a fellow officer subjected her to sexual harassment, including inappropriate touching and foul language. He was later fired and the woman is just returning from a long leave from the department. But she says retaliation by her fellow officers after she reported the harassment made her work life unpleasant at the time.
She says the man's inappropriate behavior included urinating in front of her, yelling at her and including her in conversations about sex. She reportedly first complained to supervisors about the harassment in March 2009. After he was fired, she went on leave in January 2010 and was paid through workers' compensation.
An investigator with the Maine Human Rights Commission concluded that the town did discriminate against the woman, but did not retaliate against her. However, it also decided that officers' behavior in the department, including shunning her, constituted retaliation.
According to the Press Herald, the woman returned to work part-time in late February and is receiving field training. She will be back to full time in a matter of weeks. The department, meanwhile, claims that its policies regarding sexual harassment have been tightened and improved. Hopefully the officer can get a fresh start, free of inappropriate behavior this time around.
Source: Press-Herald, "Windham officer sexually harassed by colleague, commission says," Leslie Bridgers, March 5, 2012