Although the institution of law enforcement in itself is intended to protect members of society, it's often revealed that some people who occupy those positions abuse the large amount of power they're granted. Among the numerous amount of reports that expose these inappropriate and unpunished behaviors is an eye-opening lawsuit from a New York policewoman. She alleges that she was sexually harassed, discriminated against and endured working in a department that constantly perpetuated a hostile work environment.
Kerry Wolongevicz filed a lawsuit this month claiming that throughout the course of ten years of employment in the city of Manlius, her chief, fellow officer counterparts and the department in its entirety crafted and carried out discriminatory and retaliatory policies and guidelines that she believes to be unlawful.
While on the job, Wolongevicz claims to have been treated like a second class citizen while being excluded from certain assignments and positions. The 35-year-old alleges that she was denied for training for a span of five years while male officers with the same or less experience were given more challenging assignments. Wolongevicz also recalls co-workers talking about having sex on duty and that they would sometimes vulgarly comment on parts of her body. The lawsuit alleges that her male counterparts would utter comments about women police officers finding another job, claiming that they have no place on the police force. She describes that the comments left her feeling “humiliated, disgraced, and isolated as if she didn't belong there due to her gender.”
The discriminatory comments and treatment escalated when an officer made comments about having sexual intercourse with a drunk student at a nearby college. Concerned for the wellbeing of the student, Wolongevicz asked her department if anyone had received any reports of rape from the college. She claims that Police Chief Francis Marlowe “angrily” threatened her that she would be disciplined if she talked to anyone about the matter. From then on, she claims that department began to jeopardize her safety. She claims that she knew she was being untreated unfairly when a sergeant “failed to provide critical backup [to her] causing the abandoned pursuit of a reckless motorcyclist in violation of vehicle and traffic law.” She said she believes that he would have backed up any male officers. Her attorney, A.J. Bosman, says the complaint will be soon served to all of the parties listed.
“Women have to stand up and say ‘no' to this kind of stuff,” Bossman said in a statement. “They need to insist on respect.”
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages as well as punitive damages at an amount to be determined during a jury trial.
If you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of your race, sex, gender, country of origin, sexual orientation or religion you may be entitled to compensation. Don't be discouraged from speaking out against unequal treatment. Contact the experienced attorneys at Benassi & Benassi for a consultation.