Female ex-officers win $1M bias verdict against Philadelphia

May 24, 2022, 1:04 AM | Updated: 1:31 pm

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two former police officers whose gender discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit led Philadelphia’s police commissioner to resign have won a $1 million verdict against the city.

A federal jury on Tuesday found that Cpl. Audra McCowan and Patrol Officer Jennifer Allen endured a hostile work environment that included being put in undesirable jobs, with changing shifts, after they raised sexual harassment complaints. They each won $500,000.

McCowan, Allen’s supervisor, alleged that former Commissioner Richard Ross failed to help because she had ended a romantic relationship with him in 2011. Ross denied engaging in any retaliation, but resigned, when the allegations surfaced in 2019, for what he called the good of the city.

The city then hired Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, the first Black woman to lead the department, to succeed him.

McCowan now works at a school for less than half her former pay, while Allen remains unable to work, according to their lawyer, Ian Bryson. A psychiatrist testified at the weeklong trial that both suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome from the 15 years each spent in the Philadelphia Police Department, he said.

“I think this verdict sent a message that this isn’t how you treat people,” Bryson said.

The city, asked for a response, had no immediate comment on the verdict.

Mayor Jim Kenney, when Ross stepped down, agreed the police department had not done enough to address a culture that made it difficult for women, especially women of color, to work there.

According to the lawsuit, male colleagues repeatedly touched Allen on the backside, made it difficult for her to breastfeed at work and allegedly tampered with breast milk stored in the office refrigerator. Some of those claims were dropped before the case went to the jury, Bryson said.

___

Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Maryclairedale

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Police: Mother drowned children, then killed herself

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Three children whose bodies were found in a suburban Minneapolis lake over the holiday weekend died in drownings that were classified as homicides, and their mother died of a drowning that was suicide, authorities said Tuesday as they also identified the victims. Searchers recovered the bodies of Molly Cheng and […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Mexican navy sets net hooks in bid to help vaquita porpoise

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican navy said Tuesday it has begun a controversial plan to drop concrete blocks onto the bottom of the Gulf of California to snag illegal nets that drown critically endangered vaquita marina porpoises. As few as eight of the tiny, elusive porpoises remain in the Gulf, also known as the […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

North Carolina man pleads guilty in police officer’s death

MOIUNT HOLLY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges stemming from the fatal shooting of a police officer in 2020, authorities said. During his hearing, Joshua Tyler Funk, 24, of Mount Holly, entered a guilty plea for murder, news outlets reported. In exchange for his plea, the other charges […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Colorado funeral home owner pleads guilty in body sales case

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado funeral home operator accused of illegally selling body parts and giving clients fake ashes has pleaded guilty to mail fraud in federal court. The Daily Sentinel reports that Megan Hess faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison after entering the plea Tuesday in Grand Junction. Other […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Mirabilite spring mounds are shown at the Great Salt Lake on May 3, 2022, near Salt Lake Cit...
Associated Press

Great Salt Lake hits new historic low for 2nd time in a year

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Great Salt Lake has hit a new historic low for the second time in less than a year as the ongoing megadrought worsened by climate change continues to shrink the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi. Utah Department of Natural Resources said Monday in a news release the […]
18 hours ago
FILE - In this June 1995, file photo a Northern Spotted owl sits on a branch in Point Reyes, Calif....
Associated Press

Judge throws out Trump-era rollbacks on endangered species

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a host of actions by the Trump administration to roll back protections for endangered or threatened species, a year after the Biden administration said it was moving to strengthen such species protections. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in Northern California eliminated the Trump-era rules even […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Female ex-officers win $1M bias verdict against Philadelphia