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Judge rejects female JSO lieutenant's sex harassment lawsuit

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Years after a female police lieutenant filed a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, a judge found the alleged conduct was "beneath the dignity of the badge" but not enough to be actionable.

ORIGINAL STORY: Female JSO lieutenant files lawsuit claiming sexual discrimination

Lt. Trudy Callahan filed the lawsuit in 2016. She claimed male officers made passes at her, and made both sexist and derogatory comments to her. She also claimed she was disciplined for behavior that male officers had done without receiving any discipline, including:

  • Arguing with a chief 
  • Being late to a meeting
  • Late completion of assignment
  • Didn’t file a noteworthy report on a business robbery
  • Her squad didn’t write enough citations for curfew violators
  • Missing a lieutenants’ meeting while on bereavement leave

Callahan said when she filed complaints, she was subjected to retaliation, all of which contributed to a hostile work environment.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. In the ruling, Judge Harvey Schlesinger found that the 17 claims of harassment Callahan said occurred from 2011 to 2017 “do not rise to the level of being sufficiently severe and pervasive.”

The judge found that the alleged conduct is “distasteful" and "petty" but not actionable under a standard set by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.