Homelessness Team Officer Tentatively Settles Harassment Suit

Los Angeless Homelessness

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 LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles police officer has tentatively settled her lawsuit against the city in which she alleges she was subjected to sexual harassment and belittled as a woman, eventually forcing her out of a coveted position working with the homeless.

Lawyers for Officer Brenda Nix filed court papers Tuesday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elaine Lu stating that the case was conditionally resolved, but no terms were divulged. Final approval is still needed by the City Council.

``Plaintiff's male subordinates shunned her, treated her with disrespect and were regularly insubordinate,'' according to Nix's lawsuit filed in November 2020, also alleging discrimination and retaliation. In their court papers, lawyers for the City Attorney's Office denied Nix's allegations.

Nix joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 2002 and from February 2017 until at least the filing of her lawsuit she has been subjected to discrimination, harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment due to her gender and suffered retaliation after she complained about the way she was being treated, the suit states.

Nix's two supervisors, both sergeants, knew there was an alleged hostile work environment for women, but did not correct the behavior, according to the suit. One of them invited her to join the Homeless Outreach Proactive Engagement Unit, the suit states.

Nix, the unit's only woman, was ``regularly subjected to an environment that degraded, belittled and objectified women,'' the suit states. One supervisor referred to females as ``bitches,'' said or implied he needed to have sexual intercourse with a female supervisor to ``calm her down'' and also boasted that he had sex with his female partner, according to the complaint.

The same supervisor ``set the tone that females did not need to be treated with respect within the unit,'' the suit alleges. Nix was the highest ranked officer on the team, but several officers would not take commands from a female, the suit states. They smirked when Nix gave them an order and refused to look her in the eye when speaking with her, according to the suit.

Several officers and a supervisor made general statements in Nix's presence that they believed women were ``lesser than men,'' according to the suit. In April 2017, one supervisor invited Nix to join him on a trip to Las Vegas and asked her to dye her hair blonde because he liked that color, the suit states.

Nix was put in charge of the team in June 2018 while one supervisor was out for a bomb-handling training assignment, the suit states. Several male officers refused to join her roll call and listen to her orders, the suit states. Nix complained, but no report was written on her behalf, according to the suit.

  In February 2019, Nix and her partner tried to clean up an area of about 40 to 50 homeless people, but she was not given assistance when she asked for help, the suit states. The stress eventually caused Nix to transfer out of what was a coveted position, the suit states. She has suffered both general and special damages that continue to the present, the suit alleges. She also has allegedly
experienced anxiety, anguish and mental distress.

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