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Harassment by Hayward Police

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Posted over 6 years ago

 

Female employees claim harassment by Hayward police
Charges filed by more than a dozen workers who say they were discriminated against
By Matt O'Brien and Jason Sweeney, STAFF WRITERS
Article Last Updated: 09/19/2007 10:55:41 AM PDT

HAYWARD — More than a dozen female employees of the Hayward Police Department have filed complaints alleging sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
City officials refused to release the complaints this week, calling them a personnel matter, but said they believe a class-action lawsuit is pending.

"We anticipate any day seeing a lawsuit," said Maureen Conneely, assistant city attorney for Hayward.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing received 14 complaints against the city of Hayward this year — nine of them on one day in July, according to records filed with the state labor agency.

"There was a sudden flurry of complaints filed on July 17th of this year," said agency spokesman Bill Branch. "They did not request an investigation from us. They wanted an immediate right-to-sue letter, which we gave them."

State law requires people to exhaust their administrative remedies before filing an unfair employment lawsuit in court.

"It is a bit unusual to have that many people file against a single organization on the same day, but it does happen occasionally," Branch said.

Almost all of the complaints allege sex harassment at the Hayward Police Department.

Six complainants also allege discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Two allege discrimination on the basis of marital status. And nine say they faced retaliation for protesting the harassment.

Three employees were terminated

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and two were demoted, according to a document provided by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
Mayor Mike Sweeney, Police Chief Lloyd Lowe and City Council members declined to talk about the complaints this week, referring comments to the city attorney's office.

Conneely said the city received the complaints from the fair employment department.

"Sometime in the summer, we got notice of about eight or nine," Conneely said. "Sometime in the spring, there were three others that were delivered."

to us."

The city lawyer said she is not releasing the complaints right now "because these employees have alleged circumstances occurring during the course of their employment. It's considered a personnel record."

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing also did not immediately release the complaints Tuesday. Branch said the department's lawyers need time to redact the names of the employees who filed the complaints.

The allegations come at a time when city leaders have been debating over how to replenish the resources of a police department that is widely considered to be understaffed. More than 200 people crowded Treeview Swim Club in the Fairway Park neighborhood on Monday night demanding more help solving growing problems there, including speeding, reckless driving and neighborhood appearance.

Mike Sorensen, president of the Hayward Police Officers Association, acknowledged that some of the employees involved in the complaints are association members, but he said the union is not involved in the case in any way.

"We're just hoping they get it done, get over with it and get on to the next day," Sorensen said. "We don't know any of the allegations. It's all kept between them and their lawyers."

He also said that "morale is still good" at the department.

The police department also was sued in federal court on Friday by the parents of a man killed in an officer-involved shooting last year. The parents are claiming $20 million in damages and blame the officer for using excessive force in breaking up a fight. Conneely said Tuesday that the city has not yet received a copy of that lawsuit.

Matt O'Brien can be reached at 510-293-2473. Jason Sweeney can be reached at 510-293-2469.

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Rate This | Posted over 6 years ago

 

When I seen this I don't know what to believe anymore. What is this world coming too. Can you believe that police officers will harass there own people in the office.