It takes courage to report sexual harassment in the workplace. Sometimes, however, that courage isn't met with respect from superiors or human resources departments, and instead is met with retaliation.
Those are the claims in a federal lawsuit brought against Nassau County. A sheriff's deputy says that she was subject to extremely vulgar and degrading sexual comments by fellow deputies and superiors almost every day. She stated that she had hoped to avoid litigation and resolve her complaint internally, but her superiors didn't take the complaint seriously and instead transferred her to another department. The deputy's federal civil lawsuit specifically names a supervisor and another co-worker as harassers.
According to the police union, which has been speaking on behalf of the accused officers, training in harassment awareness is provided to all county workers. However, the lawsuit claims the training is minimal. The language allegedly used by the officers also suggests that the training has not been effective.
The lawsuit, which includes claims of sexual harassment and retaliation, states that the harassment started when the deputy was still in training, and the vulgar, sexist behavior continued after the deputy began working at the Nassau County Family Court. Also in the lawsuit are claims that co-workers would make inappropriate comments and play inappropriate music when other women came into the office.
A CBS News article has more on the nature of the offenses detailed in the lawsuit.
No matter what kind of work you do, you have a right not to be harassed in the workplace. If you are suffering in a hostile work environment, then an employment law attorney can help you through this difficult time and explain your legal options for stopping the harassment.