Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal and often under reported. It is difficult to report sexual harassment due to the stigma sometimes associated with reporting the harassment and also the embarrassment that some victims feel when retelling the incident. Sexual harassment is illegal in Missouri, but for any action to be taken, the victim is must report the incident.

A civilian employee in a police department reported the sexual harassment she suffered and has found closure in that the lawsuit has been settled. The lawsuit was filed a little over one year ago and named the defendants as the city and the highest ranked female employee.

The lawsuit claims the plaintiff was sexually harassed multiple times by the high ranking female employee. The plaintiff claims the named defendant inappropriately touched the plaintiff, stated her intention to engage in a threesome with the plaintiff, undressed in the presence of the plaintiff, made sexually inappropriate comments and called the plaintiff sexually harassing names. The plaintiff also claimed the named defendant “outed” the plaintiff as a lesbian in front of other co-workers. These actions against the plaintiff are unwelcome sexual advances, verbal and physical sexual conduct and sexual favor requests, which are all acts of sexual harassment.

In the plaintiff’s lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed the named defendant’s actions were malicious and oppressive. The plaintiff sued the city because she claimed the police department had knowledge about continued harassment and failed to stop the named defendant’s behavior. The lawsuit settled and the plaintiff received a $150,000 settlement, which included punitive damages. The plaintiff has been awarded approximately $300,000 from two other sexual harassment lawsuits against the same police department over the last 13 years for the continued harassment she has experienced.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “EXCLUSIVE: City of Concord Settles the Schwartzenberger -vs- Heinemann Sexual Harassment Lawsuit,” April 24, 2012