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Seven New Jersey Police Officers’ Case Yields a $4M Settlement and Shines a Light on the Problem of Anti-LGBT Bias in Law Enforcement

One common form of socio-political discussion is to make reference to the current year as a precursor to asserting that we, as a society, should be past certain un-evolved behaviors. Regrettably, the news keeps reminding us that this, too often, isn’t true. One area where the news provided yet another stark reminder of that was the case of the highly offensive and discriminatory anti-LGBT conduct allegedly taking place at one New Jersey police department, as reported by and other sources.

There are many types of discrimination one can encounter at work. Unfortunately, being a member of certain groups and working in certain professions further increases that risk. Even though, here in 2019, we might like to believe that we’ve moved past that, the opposite is true too many times in too many places. If you’ve suffered as a result of this kind of discrimination or harassment at your job, be sure to fight back with strong representation from a skilled New Jersey discrimination attorney.

This blog has discussed previously the disappointing prevalence of anti-LGBT discrimination at New Jersey law enforcement agencies. A settlement reached recently by seven officers at one central New Jersey police department, and reported by, was just one of the latest examples.

Of the seven discriminated-against officers, the one who received the largest settlement payment was S.P., a married lesbian officer. The harm she suffered was multi-faceted. On the one hand, it was highly offensive. According to USA Today, in one example of the type of workplace she endured, S.P. alleged that the department’s chief asked a subordinate officer, in relation to S.P.’s vacation in Rhode Island with her wife, a speculative question regarding what sexual activities S.P. might be doing while on that vacation, punctuating the question with a vulgar gesture using his fingers and tongue. The chief also allegedly referred to S.P. and another lesbian officer by a vulgar slang word for lesbians.

That officer’s harm went deeper, however. According to the USA Today report, she was a 22-year veteran of the force and the anti-LGBT actions of the chief allegedly brought a screeching halt to her professional advancement within that force.

Gay male officers also allegedly faced similar abuse. C.Q., a gay male officer, took an annual camping trip. The chief allegedly analogized the man’s trip to the famous movie “Brokeback Mountain.” He also allegedly asked two other gay male officers, S.R. and M.B., a highly derogatory and insulting question that related back to the same-sex rape scene in the 1970s movie “Deliverance,” reported.

Gay and lesbian officers allegedly were not the only officers harmed by the chief’s anti-LGBT bias. The chief allegedly mocked D.C., a male officer, for growing a mustache for the men’s health awareness event “Movember.” According to the complaint, the chief told D.C. that the mustache made him look like “a [vulgar slur word for a gay man].”

S.P., D.C., C.Q., M.B. and S.R. each received settlement awards ranging from $100,000 to $1.3 million, according to

Society may have advanced in many ways, but there is more work to be done. One way in which to achieve those laudable and necessary ends is to pursue your rights aggressively in the legal system if you’ve been the victim of illegal discrimination on the job. The skilled New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates are dedicated to helping you achieve positive results in your harassment, discrimination or retaliation case. Contact us to find out more. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.

More blog posts:

The Pervasive Problem of Anti-LGBT Discrimination in Law Enforcement, as Seen Across Multiple New Jersey Communities, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Jan. 16, 2019

How Disparaging Comments by Co-Workers May Provide You With a Viable Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Discrimination Case in New Jersey, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Nov. 21, 2018

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