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Sexual harassment lawsuit will cost police department $500K

Sexual harassment in the workplace in Indiana occurs when a work environment becomes hostile due to pervasive and persistent sexual conduct or attention. One woman in another state said she was a victim of sexual harassment at her workplace: a police department. She thus filed a lawsuit, which will end up costing the department over $500,000 in damages.

According to the lawsuit, a woman who used to serve as a police sergeant was harassed by her fellow policemen. In this federal court case, the woman recently testified that she had resigned from her position after enduring gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment for many years. Female officers also testified that at the department, they must work harder in order to earn their male peers' respect, and they are treated unfairly if they complain about the situation.

A jury ended up siding with the woman. The woman received a total of $285,000 in damages for lost wages. She also received an additional $225,000 in emotional damages. These damages will be paid for by the police department's insurance company. The jury verdict is not only about lost wages and emotional damages but also legal fees.

Employers in Indiana are obligated to ensure that their workplaces do not become hostile environments due to sexual harassment. If this happens, these employers may be held accountable through the civil court system. A person who has been sexually harassed has the right to explore all of his or her legal options to right any wrong that has been committed, which may result in remedies such as back pay or front pay based on the circumstances surrounding the case.

Source: cbs12.com, "Former female cop wins $500K sexual harassment lawsuit against city of Fort Pierce", Jana Eschbach, Aug. 31, 2015

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