A female officer who worked in the Human Trafficking Unit is claiming that she was forced to endure a hostile workplace. According to her complaint, the woman was subjected to severe sexual harassment from her male coworkers. She began working on the force in 2001 and was awarded a Texas Purple Heart in 2006 after being dragged and run over while she was chasing a suspect.
She claims that her male coworkers would harass her about women that were on prostitution websites. Furthermore, she was allegedly belittled because she would not allow the men to come into unnecessary contact with the unclothed female victims. She asserts that the men would even go so far as to block her from getting near the women so that they could spend more time with them. There came a point when the harassment became so intense that she resorted to wearing ear plugs so that she would not be forced to listen to what the men were saying.
The plaintiff filed a report with internal affairs about the harassment and was transferred to another unit, but the men were allowed to stay. She claims that she was later told that her previous unit was no longer active and that the promise to transfer her back would now be unable to occur. Based on court documents, she received disciplinary action for allegedly sexual harassing her male coworkers. She is seeking to be awarded up to $1 million for her case.
All employees deserve to work in an environment that is free from sexual harassment. Texas workers who believe that they are being victimized may first wish to follow the proper protocols and chain of command to report the harassment. If the situation continues, the workers may choose to pursue legal action. Those who win their cases may be awarded monetary compensation to help with the duress that they may have experienced as well as any other financial relief awarded by the court.
Source: kxan.com, "Austin detective sues city for sexual harassment", Dec. 30, 2014