Police Sergeant Wins Hostile Workplace Environment Case

hostile workplace environmentWorking is something that most of us have to do. When we go to work, the last thing we want to deal with is a hostile work environment. Not only are hostile work environments incredibly emotionally stressful, but they can have negative physical health consequences as well.

We are learning that a Phoenix police sergeant has been awarded a $1.5 million settlement against the city in a hostile work environment lawsuit.

In a six-day trial in the US District Court in Phoenix, a jury listened to Sgt. Jeffery Green’s story. Today, we want to discuss this case with you as well as what constitutes a hostile work environment. If you are facing what you believe to be an illegal, discriminatory, or hostile work environment, seek assistance from an Arizona employment attorney today.

What Happened In This Case

This case began in 2012 when Sgt. Green was informed by a female officer that another sergeant in the department touched her between her legs while at an off-duty event. Sgt. Green’s supervisor then told him that they needed to “get rid” of the female officer because she filed the complaint. After she filed the complaint internally, with the help of Green, she then filed a discrimination complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Sgt. Green says that he told his boss that they cannot do that because that would be considered retaliation, something that is illegal under both federal and state law. He says that his boss tried to find other ways to fire the female officer and tried to force Green to punish her. When Green refused, he says he was placed on administrative leave.

The lawsuit Green filed has been in the courts since 2015 and he says that he is satisfied with the final settlement of $1.5 million. His attorney says that the case “highlights an all-too-common issue that’s under-reported out of fear of retaliation.”

This Happens Often

Thanks to the “Me Too” movement, our awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace has increased. However, many work environments still accept and cover up these offenses. As evidenced by this case and in other male-dominated workplaces, it can be difficult to even report incidents of harassment.

We know that studies show that around 27% of American adult women have been sexually harassed at work. Federal law prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and protects employees from:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature

What about Sgt. Green’s case?

Sgt. Green was defending a coworker who wanted to report wrongdoing. He stood up for what was right and paid the price in the form of a hostile work environment. Instead of retaliating against employees for doing the right thing, employers need to promote this kind of behavior. Sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting harassment CANNOT be tolerated. This case and the large settlement show just how much the public agrees.

What We Can Do Now

If you are facing harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or a hostile work environment, please consider seeking legal assistance as soon as possible. You have rights and an Arizona employment attorney will help you get through this. Your attorney will work to ensure that you are fairly compensated. This can include:

  • back pay
  • reinstatement (of you have been terminated)
  • promotion if it is due
  • legal fees and court costs
  • pain and suffering damages
  • punitive damages

Injustice in the workplace is detrimental to everyone. By speaking out and holding perpetrators accountable, you can create a better situation for all workers.

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