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Florida school officers pursue harassment claim against chief

Police officers at our nation’s schools are essential to keeping students safe and should be treated with respect for the service they provide. Recent reports show that two officers within the Miami-Dade Schools system have been sexually harassed at work by the school district police chief. The officers, both female, have accused the man of attempting to have sex with them and initiating lewd conversations on the job.

Both of the women say they were retaliated against when they reported the blatant sexual harassment. One of the women said the police chief went as far as revealing himself to her on the job. The other said she was attacked when she met the man at his home while still in uniform; she just wanted to view some renovations he had performed on his house. The man reportedly grabbed that woman, forcibly kissed her and attempted to engage in sexual relations before she was able to escape.

The women have filed a suit based on the fact that the school district did not respond appropriately to their complaints about the chief. Even though the women reported the incidents, supervisors and school board personnel were reticent to handle the matter. In response to their complaints, the women were repeatedly threatened with termination. One of the women was transferred to another job many miles away after she reported ongoing harassment.

Both women said they were intimidated by the man during the course of their employment. They were afraid to lose their jobs, but they also feared for their physical safety. This type of harassment, which creates an exceptionally hostile work environment, is allowed to persist when employers don’t exercise their ability to promote and maintain a safe, welcoming workplace. Alternatively, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor attempts to trade sexual favors for professional advancement.

Media reports have not disclosed what kind of conditions on which the suits have been filed.

Source: NBC Miami, “Miami-Dade Schools police chief faces sexual harassment allegations in 2 lawsuits,” Willard Shepard, Jan. 16, 2013