Franklin Township and its police department recently agreed to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit for $300,000.
Franklin Township recently announced a $300,000 settlement agreement with Kristin Durham, a female police lieutenant who sued the township over alleged gender discrimination. The suit named the township and police department as defendants.
According to Durham, she was “discriminated against because of her gender and her actual and/or perceived support of female, African-American and Hispanic officers in the department and her opposition to defendants’ illegal employment practices.” She was fired by the police department back in 1996 and claimed over the years that she was the “victim of discrimination and retaliation, including disparate treatment, a hostile work environment, her promotional bypass to the rank of captain, the denial of training opportunities, the denial of specialized assignments and overtime, the undermining of her authority and responsibilities as a supervisor, bogus disciplinary investigations, petty acts of harassment and other adverse employment actions.”
The suit also noted that Durham was only one of 11 women in the entire 105-member department. Additionally, she was the “first and only female lieutenant in the department,” and there are only “16 African American officers in the department, and none higher than the rank of sergeant.” The suit further stated, “Consistent with this male-dominated environment, male supervisors in the department publicly engaged in affairs and openly discussed their sexual trysts with women.”
On one occasion, one of Durham’s superiors, “gripped by jealousy, ordered her to watch a subordinate with whom he was having an affair when he was not at work and to report whether any male officers spoke to her.” According to the suit, that type of conduct was “long-condoned in the department.”
During her time working at the department, Durham spent time working as a recruiting officer and “personally recruited nine African American officers.” The suit stated, “She has long advocated for female, African-American and Hispanic officers in the department who have been treated less favorably than white male officers.” As a result, she was subjected to “retaliation because of her opposition to the illegal conduct and her aid and encouragement to female, African-American, and Hispanic officers.”
When January 2018 rolled around, Durham was retaliated against some more when she was “placed on administrative leave of absence and sent for a fitness-for-duty examination after being named in a bogus, manufactured Internal Affairs complaint,” according to the suit.
As part of the recent settlement, Durham will be allowed to “remain on a paid personal administrative leave until June 1, 2021, or the month following the date she achieves 25 years of service credit in the New Jersey Division of Pensions, Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, whichever occurs later.”