Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Mar 10, 2020

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A group of 14 female California police officers have settled a gender and sexual orientation lawsuit against the City of Hayward, California for $5 million. The police officers alleged that they faced systematic harassment over a period of over 25 years.

Harassment lawsuit settlement

Fourteen female police officers with the Hayward, California Police Department recently settled their California harassment lawsuit with the city which alleged that they had been harassed due to their gender and sexual orientation over the course of 25 plus years. In fact, some of the allegations went back as far as 1982, according to a recent news article in the Contra Costa Times. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2007, was settled for $5 million, but the city did not admit any wrongdoing.

California’s FEHA prohibits employment discrimination

California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employment discrimination based on:

  • race or color
  • religion
  • national origin or ancestry
  • physical disability
  • mental disability or medical condition
  • marital status
  • sex (gender) or sexual orientation
  • age, with respect to persons over the age of 40
  • pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions

It applies to employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs and any person or entity who aids, abets, incites, compels, or coerces the doing of a discriminatory act.

Damages for discriminatory behavior

Victims of employment discrimination or sexual harassment can recover for their lost wages, future lost wages, emotional distress, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. However, some damages may be limited depending upon whether the case is filed federally under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or under California’s FEHA. If you’ve been subject to workplace harassment, contact an experience California employment law lawyer who understands how these laws work to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. He or she may be able to help you recover money damages and other compensation for an employer’s illegal practices.