Westbrook police officer says she was sexually harassed on job, plans to sue

Posted Aug. 29, 2014, at 7:48 a.m.

WESTBROOK, Maine — A female officer says she was sexually harassed by her fellow officers and is planning to sue the city.

Last week, an attorney for Officer Melissa May filed an 80-page notice of her claim against the department. May started working at the Westbrook Police Department in 2009, and said in the claim that discrimination was evident right away, with different rules and expectations for female officers.

According to the claim, the situation escalated in January, when May pulled over a male officer’s girlfriend and gave her a speeding ticket, then went back to the station and complained about the girlfriend’s attitude.

In the claim, May described the next month of her life as a living hell. She said her co-workers overheard an officer and a sergeant calling her a derogatory name on more than one occasion.

May said she was bullied by a supervisor and eventually dismissed the speeding ticket for fear of retaliation. She said the city didn’t do enough when she reported harassment.

Westbrook has seen several discrimination cases in recent years. About five years ago, two female firefighters sued on similar grounds. They settled with the city for $850,000.

Westbrook officials wouldn’t speak with CBS 13, but Mayor Colleen Hilton issued a statement, saying in part: “We were surprised and disappointed to receive the claim, given the effort made to address her concerns and maintain a workplace free of harassment and discrimination, a goal to which we remain committed.”

CBS 13 tried to speak with May’s attorney but was not successful.

 

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