LAPD: To Protect and To Serve—Defendants?

Commander Jorge Villegas, Captain John Romero and Captain Nancy Lauer are all members of the Los Angeles Police Department who were named as defendants in separate lawsuits over the past five years alleging employment discrimination or retaliation. Juries awarded nearly $4 million in settling those cases, but the Los Angeles Daily News reported on November 6, 2011, that rather than losing their jobs as a result, all three were either promoted or transferred to a more prestigious assignment.

The trio of cases, however, is hardly an exception to the rule. Over the past three years alone, the LAPD has paid out $38 million in internal harassment and discrimination suits. The Daily News said cops have filed about 250 suits against the department for claims of harassment, discrimination or retaliation in the past five years.

“You cost the city millions of dollars, and you’re getting promoted? What the heck is that about?” Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine, a retired LAPD sergeant and head of the council’s Audits and Governmental Efficiency Committee, asked the Daily News. Zine asked the city’s risk management task force to review the LAPD’s employment lawsuits and promotions, and the Daily News said the LAPD will also hire a risk manager to “head off more costly lawsuits by identifying internal problems and training supervisors in conflict management.” According to the Daily News, the risk manager will be a civilian who will have a rank on par with a police commander and will report directly to Police Chief Charlie Beck.

The department told the Daily News that they hope to have someone in place by the end of the year. Have you ever had a co-worker who was promoted after being accused of discrimination at work? Do you feel like your employer handles internal problems efficiently?

Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment lawyers