Federal Jury Rules South Bend Police Unlawfully Retaliated Against One Of Its Officers
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The South Bend Police Department unlawfully retaliated. That's the ruling of a federal jury from Thursday, after former officer Joy Phillips filed a sexual harassment complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Now the city of South Bend will have to pay Phillips around $35,000 in damages, plus lost wages and attorney fees.
The South Bend Tribune reports evidence presented during the trial suggested that Phillips was unfairly disciplined on several occasions for "policy violations", and a male supervisor even suggested that she wear a mini skit and high heels to work.
Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski filed charges against her for policy violations in five separate cases, recommending her for unpaid suspensions totaling more than 50 days. Ruszkowski also placed her on a form of administrative leave that allowed her to collect her base salary but banned her from police duties.
Phillips resigned from the South Bend Police Department in 2016 and is now a detective with the Elkhart Police Department.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Phillip Simon, who presided over the trial, said he would set a conference for later this month to determine the wages and legal fees owed by the city. He also noted the city has a right to appeal the verdict or ask for a new trial.
(PHOTO: Brian A. Jackson/Thinkstock)