Sexual harassment lawsuits against an employee’s boss are common in the United States. Unfortunately, law enforcement hasn't been able to escape this commonality. The St. Louis PD is currently staring down a sexual harassment lawsuit, filed just before Christmas 2011. In the suit, St. Louis Officer Tanisha Ross-Paige accuses her supervisor, Steve Gori of sexual harassment. The suit also names the Board of Police Commissioners and has asked for a minimum of $25,000.
Many times, what one person can see as a joke, another can see as sexual harassment. Such could be the first example of sexual harassment reported by Tanisha. She received an email, as did her fellow employees, of a fake "Wanted" picture that depicted her and described her sexually. It went on to describe how to approach the "subject" in a very sexually oriented manner.
Another incident that the charges are naming, allege that Sgt. Gori asked Officer Ross-Paige to take a seat on his lap and remove her vest. He also, allegedly, repeatedly invited Officer Ross-Paige to his house to enjoy the hot tub, no swimsuit required.
The lawsuit is also claiming that she has been the victim of retaliation since speaking up about her harassment, which is also a federal crime. The charges claim that after she stood up for herself by filing an initial complaint in June, she began to receive the worst available assignments and shifts over and over again. Her reviews and evaluations were altered from the normal routine. Officer Ross-Paige also claims that she was even refused down time to train, which all the male officers of her unit were allowed to have.
The most outrageous event took place when her boss, Sgt. Gori, threatened taking her police dog, and even her job, if she didn't accept dating him. She is also accusing Gori of having another officer forge her name on a promotion waiver, which may very well cost her a better position and higher pay.
While the investigation goes forward, Officer Tanisha Ross-Paige has remained on the canine unit, but now reports to a different shift supervisor. When the inquiry ends, she may be re-assigned to the former boss that sexually harassed her. That will depend on the final outcome of the investigation, if it goes to trial, and what the final repercussions will be if the department settles out of court.
Tanisha Ross-Paige joined the canine unit after a lifetime of dreaming to be a police officer. She has been married for years and has said she simply wants this type of thing to stop. Sexual harassment should never be acceptable in the law enforcement field. If the police officers aren’t able to trust one another, how can we trust them?
Many of the cases involving sexual harassment in government agencies, local or not, could have been avoided. Sexual harassment can be prevented, or dealt with properly, by taking beginner and advanced sexual harassment courses.
These classes can be done online and in the comfort of the home. That makes it possible to learn and absorb as much as possible, making the classes more than worth it. The classes will also pay for themselves due to the amount of money that can be saved from avoiding lawsuits through sexual harassment prevention.