The police commissioner of the nation’s sixth-largest city is out of office after accusations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination in his department. The Philadelphia Police Commissioner resigned after allegations surfaced in a federal lawsuit filed in August by two female police department members. His resignation comes just weeks after he was lauded by the city’s mayor and others for his handling of a prolonged police standoff situation.
Also named in the federal lawsuit is the city of Philadelphia, the Deputy Commissioner, and nine police department members who allegedly failed to stop the harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace remains a rampant problem in many work environments, as highlighted in the worldwide #MeToo movement, which aimed to address the issue. Statistics show that one in four women will experience sexual harassment in the workplace. While sexual harassment occurs primarily toward women, men can also be victims. Discrimination is against the law and employees have a series of remedies under city, state, and federal laws.
Allegations Include Sexual and Racial Discrimination
The lawsuit filed by two female officers alleged that they were subjected to a hostile work environment and that they were subsequently retaliated against for reporting the harassment. They state that they were subjected to continuous and ongoing sexual harassment and discrimination by both coworkers and supervisors. The suit alleged that the two women experienced sexual comments, advances, and groping at work. One of the officers stated in the lawsuit that when she went to the Commissioner about the harassment, he failed to act and made a flippant comment about how she should handle the situation. In his resignation statement, the Commissioner did not refer specifically to the lawsuit but stated that he never sought retribution against anyone personally or professionally. The suit included the allegation that he had a two-year relationship with one of the officers.
Those experiencing sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace must first file a charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A federal lawsuit can only be filed when the EEOC completes their investigation and issues a Notice of Right to Sue. In Pennsylvania, claimants can also cross-file with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
In his statement, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that an independent commission will be charged with investigating the allegations and issuing recommendations. He noted that the workplace policies on sexual harassment and gender and racial discrimination implemented a year ago showed that the corrective actions needed had not taken place in the department.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Workers’ Rights
If you suffered from sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace, a Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. will advocate for your rights in the workplace. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 for a free consultation.