Harassment in its Many Forms and Types
Salt Lake City, UT– Three former female officers for the Salt Lake City Police Department filed a sexual harassment lawsuit alleging they were sexually harassed and former Chief Chris Burbank did nothing to stop the abusive behavior.
The three women accused deputy chief Richard Findlay of making inappropriate comments and subjecting them to other inappropriate behaviors. The three women filed their lawsuit last Friday seeking compensation for their emotional damages and loss of wages, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The lawsuit alleges that in one incident, Findlay tried to kiss one of the women. He also allegedly told coworkers that he was dating one of the officers and shared a naked picture of her to fellow officers.
The lawsuit states that the three women “suffered damage to [their reputations] with past and present coworkers from Findlay’s sexually discriminating and harassing conduct,” the Salt Lake City Tribune reports. “His behavior created a hostile, intimidating, and offensive work environment and damaged [their] ability to advance in the department,” the lawsuit goes on to explain.
The lawsuit also called out Police Chief Chris Burbank for failing to discipline Findlay even after an investigation backed up the women’s complaints. Burbank gave Findlay a mere slap on the wrist for his inappropriate behavior. What’s more, Burbank waited weeks after learning of the women’s allegations to put Findlay on paid leave. He remained on paid leave until he retired several years later.
Burbank took a lot of heat for allowing Findlay to go on suspension just weeks before he was slated to retire. He has also faced a great deal of criticism because he failed to take any disciplinary actions against Findlay.
Allegations of sexual harassment are not uncommon on police forces across the country. It makes sense to a certain extent when you consider the stress police officers are under and the male-dominated nature of law enforcement. Sure, there are times when an off-the-collar joke is told or a person makes an inappropriate comment but there are also times when a person’s behavior is lewd and abusive.
Police force or not, employers are legally obliged to protect their employees from any type or work place abuse. It doesn’t matter if a person is experiencing harassment or discrimination based on their gender, race, or religion. An employer has an obligation to protect their employees from any workplace abuse and failing to do so puts them on course for civil litigation.
If you have faced harassment, USAttorneys recommends you contact a sexual harassment lawyer near your Utah location, so you can discuss you case and decide if you are eligible for compensation. Employers have an obligation to investigate and appropriately discipline any employee, male or female, who subjects others to abusive behaviors. Taking action is one of an employer’s chief duties and failing to do something could make them vulnerable to a lawsuit as this case shows.