Hayward Police Department Settles Gender and Sexual Orientation Lawsuit For $5 Million
Fourteen female Hayward police officers said they had faced systematic harassment based on their gender or sexual orientation announced today the case has been settled for nearly $5 million. The lawsuit stated that women were subjected to sexual harassment and those who accepted such advances were favored for promotions, and that a rumor mill churned out demeaning stories about female officers having sexual relations with multiple men in the department, often men whose advances had been rebuffed.
Lesbian officers were seen as targets for "conversion," the suit stated. Harassment against one officer included making her privy to a videotape that showed her husband, also an officer, having sex with a dispatcher. The women claimed that those who complained about the workplace conditions were retaliated against via demotions or denial of promotion, and in four cases were fired.
Casper said the amount of the settlement indicated the insurance companies "recognized the problems the city has historically had with women being treated fairly at the police department. Close to $5 million is not an amount paid unless someone has recognized years of wrongdoing."
Hayward officials said attorneys will determine how the money will be divvied up among the officers. City Attorney Michael Lawson estimated that the city spent about $500,000 in legal fees on the case since it was brought forward in November 2007.