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Lawsuit alleges hostile workplace for terminated Florida cop

Two lawsuits have been filed against the city of Mascotte since the police department fired one of its sergeants in January. One suit filed by the Florida Police Benevolent Association several weeks ago alleges that officials violated the sergeant's Officers' Bill of Rights with the way they conducted the termination process. The most recent lawsuit filed by an attorney also alleges shortcomings in the termination process as well as the reason for termination.

The latest lawsuit specifically alleges the sergeant was the victim of retaliation by way of false accusations after he complained about the police chief. According to city documents, the officer was fired for not cooperating in an internal investigation alleging sexual harassment of a female officer. Other allegations against the city include harassment, humiliation and mistreatment as well as secretly videotaping the terminated officer.

The attorney reportedly claims that the termination did not comply with the Officers' Bill of Rights, which entitles a police officer accused of offenses to a judicial hearing, FPBA representation and a review of the allegations. The attorney also stated that after the city found out about the FPBA lawsuit, officials with the city claimed the sergeant was not fired, despite records indicating he had not been paid since January.

This most recent lawsuit seeks at least $15,000 in damages as well as restoration of seniority rights and benefits, past wages and other losses and a full reinstatement of the officer's former position. The attorney and the terminated officer are also requesting an injunction that would prevent the city from further retaliation against the police officer.

It takes a lot of bravery and perseverance to go forward with a lawsuit alleging a hostile work environment. In addition to fear of retaliation in the workplace, the victim must also endure the public scrutiny associated with a legal battle. Instead of letting the injustice slide and simply seeking work elsewhere, victims of workplace harassment can find both answers and real compensation through a supportive legal team.

Source:  The Daily Commercial, "Ex-Mascotte cop files his own lawsuit" Roxanne Brown, Apr. 28, 2014

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