Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Delaware State Police Can Proceed, Judge Rules

According to Westport News, Delaware State Police must defend a sexual harassment claim brought on by a civilian employee. A judge has determined that a jury should decide a sexual harassment lawsuit brought on the by employee against a captain who was suspended and subsequently retired after the complaint.

Diana Miller claimed in a 2008 lawsuit that John Laird, as well as Lt. Paul Taylor, subjected her to unwanted advances and sexual harassment. A judge granted summary judgment to the police agency on Miller’s hostile work environment claim against Taylor and her retaliation claim against the agency. However, the judge ruled that Miller could proceed with her sexual harassment claim against Capt. Laird.

The department has acknowledged that Laird had an affair with Miller in 2007. Miller worked as a state police secretary. While the judge allowed Miller’s claim to proceed, she could not make a hostile work environment claim as she did not allege any improper actions by the supervisor in 120 days before the lawsuit was filed. Miller did make allegations that Laird’s wife encouraged her to have sex with her husband and arranged for a tryst in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where all three took a vacation.

State officials wanted to quash the lawsuit, but the judge painted a picture of a male-dominated State Police Troop 2 that s arguably degrading to women. The judge’s opinion also revealed that another secretary had affairs with both the captain and Lt. Taylor. State police are forbidden by the department from having relationships with subordinates. In recent years, the department has dealt with three separate sexual harassment cases filed by female troopers.

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