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Antisemitism Discrimination in Police Department

Info: 1988 words (8 pages) Essay
Published: 30th Jul 2021 in Law

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Summary of Facts

Officer Rowdy is a Jewish police officer and has been on the Saint Leo police force for four years. Throughout those four years, she has been subjected to anti-Semitism discrimination from her male counterparts. Instead of reporting the harassment, Officer Rowdy chose to stay quiet and just become one of the boys to fit in with her male counterparts. However, by Officer Rowdy “becoming one of the boys” she subjected herself to embarrassment as well as putting her promotion in jeopardy.  Many women tend to stay quiet due to possible retaliation from not only those who were doing the bullying but also the whole department. Many times, this is why the harassment continues because the victim is scared of losing their job or being subjected to more intense harassment. Any harassment is bullying and should not be tolerated in any workplace especially a police department.

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Issues Presented

The first legal issue is antisemitism discrimination within the police department.  Individuals should be able to have a sustainable work environment no matter their nationality or religious beliefs. Officer Rowdy was subjected to constant harassment in the form of rude Jewish jokes and being shunned by her male counterparts. Trying to fit in, Officer Rowdy did not report this harassment to her superiors but instead decided to be “one of the guys” and take part in the offensive activities. There are Federal Laws that protect individuals against anti-Semitism. However, individuals are protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech. But, it is not protected within the workplace, and especially when it becomes a form of harassment and intimidation. Even her immediate supervisor called her a “disgusting jew,” so the harassment went farther than with just her fellow officers.

Arguments Presented by Each Side

 When it comes to stories between individuals, there are usually three sides to every story, Officer Rowdy, the officers that she is accusing of harassing her and the truth. By the scenario only giving Officer Rowdy’s side, it is safe to say that the harassment she is describing did take place in some way, shape or fashion. However, Officer Rowdy handled the situation the wrong way and now has her promotion in jeopardy because she did not follow protocol as she should have. However, there is the side of the Sheriff who must decide what needs to be done with the information given to her.

Applicable Law

The Civil Rights Acto of 1964, Title VI, protect individuals against race, color, and national origin discrimination. By the male officers displaying their dislike for Officer Rowdy because of her Jewish heritage. They referred to her as a “jap,” which is a derogatory word for a Jewish-American woman. In doing this, they were all in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IV. In 2014, David Attali, a former six-year veteran police officer with the New York Police Department filed a civil suit with the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York. In this civil suit, Attali named five officers, a deputy inspector, two sergeants, and a lieutenant. He claimed he was forced to retire from the department after only six years due to the hostile work environment and anti- Semitic discrimination (Attali v. City of New York et al., (2017). Attali was seeking 150 million dollars in damages for all the harassment he was forced to endure for six years.

Recommendation

 Due to the fact, Officer Rowdy did not bring this harassment to her superiors; in the beginning, the Sheriff needs to get all parties together and hear each side separately. Of course, if someone is in the wrong, they are not going to admit it, but it is up to the Sheriff to sort out the information and find the truth. The Sheriff should go into each officers folder and see if they have had past complaints about any harassment and go from there. There might be witnesses within the police department that have overheard the harassment that would come forward in defense of Officer Rowdy. The Sheriff should encourage Officer Rowdy to file a complaint against the officers and supervisor due to the fact if the allegations are true, the Sheriff does not want those type of people representing the police department as a whole.

Reasons

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should always be contacted when any harassment or discrimination is taking place in a work environment. They then will investigate the claims and let the person who is making the complaint know what their next step of action should be.

Core Values

When it comes to core values, it is essential that individuals keep those values in every aspect of their life. In this situation, Officer Rowdy has to develop her mind, spirit, and body for a balanced life. She must demonstrate her commitment to personal development to help strengthen the character of her community as well as herself. The Sheriff must keep the integrity of the police department as a priority at which she is the representation of the Saint Leo Police Department. She cannot let the accusations be swept under the rug and be quiet about them. She must be honest, just, and consistent in word and deed (Saint Leo University, 2019). 

Summary of Facts

 While Officer Rowdy was in the bar with her male counterparts, her immediate supervisor propositioned her by telling her that if she wanted a promotion to the detective division, he could help her get it. However, she would have to do something for him sexually. When she let him know how offended she was by calling him some derogatory names, her supervisor left her alone but not before he called her a “disgusting Jew.” 

Issues Presented

 The second legal issue that is presented in this scenario is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a serious thing within the workplace especially when the number of men outweighs the number of women. It is essential that woman stand up for themselves no matter who it is that is doing the harassing. By Officer Rowdy’s immediate supervisor is the one who sexually harassed her, he not only took advantage of his position but he also caused Officer Rowdy to keep quiet about the situation to avoid any retaliation.

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Arguments Presented On Both Sides

There are no other arguments but that of Officer Rowdy. The Sheriff needs to figure out the best way to go about this to protect the honor of the police department as well as the best interest of Officer Rowdy. The Sheriff has a lot to handle within her department, and because there is no physical proof of any of this harassment taking place on Officer Rowdy, it is going to be difficult to punish. It turns out to be he said; she said situation.

Applicable Law

 The Supreme Court ruled in Meritor Savings Bank, FSF v. Vinson (1986) that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The definition of sexual harassment as explained by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) includes: Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors that encompass a person’s employment. Also, a demand that an individual provide sexual favors or face termination is a clear instance of quid pro quo sexual discrimination. If sexual requests are made as a condition of being hired or promoted is also included in this definition. These occasions are not linked to the First Amendment. Variety of different types of sexual communication in the workplace are not protected speech and establish a form of discriminatory behavior (Schultz, n.d.).

Recently, a former Nashville police officer, Monica Blake, filed suit against Metropolitan Government Nashville Davidson County, Tennessee and her commander Janet Marlene Pardue. Blake accused a male officer of sexually assaulting her in 2016. She also claimed that her commander retaliated against her for filing the sexual assault complaint. Since reporting the rape in 2017, Blake had received 41 suspensions for various things. Under the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department policy, if an officer gets 30 or more suspension days in one calendar year, they will be terminated. This case has yet to go to trial; the court date is set for June 2020.

Recommendation

 The recommendation that would be provided to the Sheriff and to seriously look into them. The accusations that Officer Rowdy has expressed are serious accusations, and it is crucial it is handled gently. Also, it would be in the best interest of the police department to hold sexual harassment training for all those employed within the department. By having everyone in the department undergo continuous sexual harassment training, then if a situation does arise, the employee can not state they did not know a certain action was considered sexual harassment. Sexual harassment training should be done at least once a year if not twice a year. Officer Rowdy should have reported the harassment immediately after it took place, by her waiting so long to say something, her credibility is in question.

Reasons

In Miller vs. Department of Corrections (2005), the courts ruled that the prison warden who had sex with three of his employees that the employers are also held responsible for their supervisor’s actions when it involves sexual harassment. So, therefore, if the accusations of Officer Rowdy involving her immediate supervisor is found to be true, then the Sheriff will also be held accountable (Burton, 2018). If the accusations Officer Rowdy is saying is true, the whole Saint Leo Police Department could be tarnished especially the Sheriff. It is the Sheriff’s job to handle issues that arise, and it is also important that the Sheriff can trust her officers on and off duty.

Core Values

 In the given situation, it is essential that Officer Rowdy continues to live through her core values. In this instance, it is having respect for herself as well as her community. Being able to unite with a diversity of other people, being able to exchange ideas and also learn, live and work harmoniously with others. As for the Sheriff, it is the job of the Sheriff to help her employees to continually develop character, learn new skills and assimilate the knowledge that is crucial to become morally responsible leaders. Being part of the police department, leaders are important and making sure that everyone employed through the department commits to the mission, vision, and goals of the Saint Leo Police Department (Saint Leo, 2019).

References

  • Burton, J. (2018). Laws About Relationships Between Employees & Supervisors. Retrieved from https://woman.thenest.com/laws-relationships-between-employees-supervisors-13957.html
  • Justia. (2019). Blake v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson County, Tennessee (Metro) et al. Retrieved from https://dockets.justia.com/docket/tennessee/tnmdce/3:2018cv01292/77021
  • Office of Equal Opportunity. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/internal_eeo/
  • Saint Leo University. (2019). History, Values, & Catholic Roots. Retrieved from https://www.saintleo.edu/history-values-catholic-roots
  • Schultz, D. Sexual Harassment Laws. Retrieved from https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1240/sexual-harassment-laws
  • Meritor Savings Bank, FSF v. Vinson (1986)
  • Miller vs. Department of Corrections (2005)
  • Attali v. City of New York (2017)

 

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