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Sexual harassment could cost a New Jersey police department

Sexual harassment and discrimination litigation can cause serious damage to your business. The damage may hurt your finances, your reputation or both. In the case of the Old Bridge Police Department, located in central New Jersey, the damage could be very severe. The department is currently facing a discrimination lawsuit that could see them pay more than $1 million.

The accusations come from a former auxiliary officer who claims that the department was a hostile workplace. The officer says that a lieutenant with the department made inappropriate sexual advances toward her, even after she reported the behavior to Internal Affairs. The lieutenant was later promoted to captain and, as the officer’s direct supervisor, allegedly treated her unfairly. Regardless of whether or not the claims are true, the Old Bridge Police Department will be facing employment litigation as a result of the lawsuit.

In a bizarre turn of events, the officer is said to be seeking the return of buses in addition to the $1 million in damages. Apparently in an effort to submit the lawsuit before the statute of limitations made it invalid, the filings were rushed and at some points refers to officers as “bus operators.” The errors have been acknowledged and amended paperwork will be filed. While such errors should not technically affect the case, concern was voiced from a legal writing expert. The expert believes that improper presentation of a case could be detrimental in the long run.

As an employer, it is important to be prepared for employment litigation. Be it sexual harassment, wrongful discharge or any other form of employment litigation, it’s important to have all of the facts straight. Being found guilty of discrimination or sexual harassment may come with a substantial price tag, and it can also cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation. Companies must always strive to maintain their integrity, and being cleared of the accusations related to violations of employment law could help in keeping a company’s reputation intact.

Source: mycentraljersey.com, “$1M discrimination lawsuit spells trouble for Old Bridge police,” Sergio Bichao, Jan 24, 2014

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