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High-ranking law enforcement officer alleges sexual harassment

Sexual harassment can happen to the holders of a great number of jobs in Rhode Island. While there might be a perception that these types of behaviors occur in certain settings, they can even occur in forms of employment that are expected to be adherent to the law as a matter of course. Regardless of where it happens, sexual harassment is against the law. Those who are victimized by it have the right to protest and seek compensation through a legal filing.

A law enforcement officer who also happens to be the highest-ranking female member in her department has alleged in a lawsuit that she was sexually harassed by those above her in rank. The woman, a lieutenant, says that the acting chief, deputy acting chief, and the mayor and public safety director all created a hostile work environment. She also says that she was discriminated against because she is a woman.

According to the claim, she was subjected to offensive sexual comments directed at her and other female employees. She says that she was retaliated against when she complained to the mayor and public safety director and that he did not deal with the men in her department who she says were mistreating her. She seeks to be compensated for the stress, anxiety and high blood pressure she says she received from the treatment. She also says that she was deprived of opportunities she otherwise would have had to advance. She has been on the force for 12 years and has been on leave due to stress since April 2016.

The allegations this officer makes are serious. Given the nature of sexual harassment, it can sometimes seem be a difficult decision as to what the victim should do. What victims must remember is that it is illegal regardless of the alleged perpetrator or the victim and their respective positions. Harassment can be inappropriate touching, comments, showing offensive material and more. It can also consist of those behaving this way trying to retaliate against a victim who complains. With all of that in mind, it is important to remember that a victim has rights. Speaking to an attorney could be a way to move forward with a sexual harassment claim to achieve justice and be compensated.

Source: wpri.com, "North Providence police lieutenant files sexual harassment lawsuit," Shaun Towne, Dec. 21, 2016

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