Judge OKs Psych Exam for Detective Allegedly Harassed Over Dress

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles police homicide detective who sued the city, alleging she was unfairly criticized for such issues as the way she dressed and how much socializing she did at her desk, can take her case to trial and must undergo an independent psychological exam requested by the defense, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Upinder Kalra granted the city's motion to compel the mental assessment of Danielle Tumbleson, noting that her own court papers state she has "suffered and continues to suffer humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety, mental anguish and emotional distress," despite her attorneys' position that Tumbleson's mental condition is not an issue in the case.

"The court finds that the defendants have set forth specific facts establishing good cause for the examination to determine the nature and scope of any present mental and emotional injuries and the need for future medical care and treatment," Kalra wrote.

Tumbleson was hired in 2010 and worked for about four months in 2018 at the Operation Valley Bureau Homicide unit in Van Nuys. She was advised to comply with the LAPD dress code after a supervisor witnessed her wearing an outfit that he thought might not be business attire, according to the city's court papers.

On another occasion, an OVBH supervisor urged Tumbleson to "avoid excessively socializing at her desk," and when she sought a transfer from her unit, she was given her third-ranked choice in December 2018, according to the city's court papers.

The city maintains that none of the actions was "adverse" to Tumbleson's career, that she was not accused of any misconduct and that she was not disciplined. Tumbleson has worked since February 2019 at the Devonshire Station, was promoted again last June, has gotten more raises, had not sought another transfer and has said she works well with her supervisors and enjoys her current job, according to the city's court papers.

But according to the plaintiff's attorneys' court papers, the city presents "a badly distorted and highly misleading caricature of what happened to plaintiff" at the OVBH unit.

Supervisors "engaged in, tolerated and condoned unlawful discriminatory and harassing behavior and exhibited a pattern and practice of gender-based differential treatment toward women," the plaintiff's lawyers further state in their court papers, leaving Tumbleson to be "plunged into a wholly dysfunctional and hostile work environment ... that demeaned, belittled and discriminated against female homicide detectives."

Before being assigned to OVBH, Tumbleson went to the Van Nuys police station on business and a male detective "supposedly determined the clothing she had on was inappropriate for a female homicide detective," the plaintiff's attorneys state.

While the dress code policy for female detective was "business-like attire appropriate for court," there was no rule prohibiting women from inserting their pant legs into their boots as Tumbleson did, her lawyers state in their court papers.

The male detective admitted he did not know what the LAPD's clothing policy was regarding female detectives, nor did he consult anyone to find out, Tumbleson's lawyers state.

The manner in which Tumbleson was counseled regarding socializing "was not only inappropriate, but it was also discriminatory and harassing," the plaintiff's lawyers further contend in their court papers.

Tumbleson filed the case in March 2020 and trial is scheduled June 27.

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