A Simi Valley police officer agreed to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit against two male supervisors and will resign effective November 19 according to a settlement agreement, the Ventura County Star reported on September 21, 2011. Although Officer Jacquelyn Christensen will not receive any monetary damages from the city in return, the Star noted that the settlement will not preclude her from pursuing workers’ compensation or disability retirement claims. Christensen filed a lawsuit last year in Ventura County Superior Court alleging Paul Fitzpatrick, a police lieutenant who retired this year, and police Sgt. Dwight Thompson “subjected her to a sexually hostile and offensive work environment almost daily starting in 2007,” according to the Star.
The agreement states that Christensen will remain on paid leave with full benefits, with the Star noting that her annual salary is about $80,000, but the agreement also states it should not be interpreted as an “admission by the city, Fitzpatrick, Thompson or Christensen of any unlawful or wrongful acts … against each other.” Veteran civil litigator David Ring, a Ventura attorney with no connection to the case, told the Star that he interpreted “Christensen agreeing to dismiss her lawsuit and resign in return for no damages as meaning her lawsuit likely ran into serious evidentiary problems.” Ring told the Star, “Probably the most logical interpretation is that things arose in the lawsuit which created a difficulty in prevailing at trial.”
Whether you have been a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment or a “hostile working” environment, you will want an experienced Los Angeles employment attorney to help determine liability and pursue legal recourse. If you have questions about what constitutes sexual harassment, contact our Los Angeles employment lawyer today to set up a confidential consultation. Do you think Officer Christensen should be satisfied with this agreement?