Monday, May 08, 2017

Judge dismisses former police officer's sexual harassment suit against Lamar acting police chief

U. S. District Court Judge Douglas Harpool dismissed a sex discrimination lawsuit against Lamar Acting Police Chief John Davis today.

In his ruling, Harpool wrote that federal law is concerned about the conduct of employers and not co-workers.

Katie Thomas, who was fired in 2015, filed her lawsuit in November 2016 alleging she was treated differently from other officers because she was the only female officer.

According to her petition:

In April 2015 Defendant Davis gave Plaintiff a negative performance review even though Plaintiff’s performance was among the top of similarly-situated officers.

Plaintiff was kept as a probationary employee by the City of Lamar during the entire course of Plaintiff’s employment even though similarly-situated male employees who performed poorly compared to Plaintiff were released from probation.

On or about 6:30 pm on December 4, 2015, Plaintiff received a text message from Cpl. Oliver Cornell ordering Plaintiff to report to duty at 8 p.m. rather than her normal start time of 10 p.m. Plaintiff reported to work as ordered on that date.

On or about 8 p.m. on said date, Defendant Davis and others accused Plaintiff of stalking and harassing a fellow police officer, Joe Housel. Defendants knew or should have known that Plaintiff was not stalking or harassing Joe Housel.

On or about the night of December 5, 2015, Plaintiff received a text message from Plaintiff’s immediate supervisor Oliver Cornell asking if Plaintiff was able to meet with Chief Ken Bergman on December 8, 2015, at 1 p.m. Plaintiff would not have been on duty at 1 p.m. on December 8, 2015.

Plaintiff requested that said meeting be held on or near the time Plaintiff was on duty. On December 5, 2015, Plaintiff reported in to work at 10 p.m. and was informed by Chief Ken Bergman that Plaintiff’s employment was terminated for insubordination, i.e. refusing a direct order from Chief Bergman.

Plaintiff neither received nor disobeyed a direct order from Chief Bergman.

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