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Female Officer Wins Reinstatement, Back Pay In Discrimination Lawsuit

Just before Nichole Hanchett was scheduled to have her day in court, she and her former employer were able to reach an agreement, settling her employment discrimination case against the San Fernando Police Department. Hanchett will receive $700,000 to resolve her lawsuit that alleged she was discriminated against because of her sexual orientation and retaliated against for talking about the corrupt practices of the department.

Hanchett returned to the police department earlier this month, taking on a new role as a Detective. The settlement includes payment for:

  • Emotional distress
  • Personal injury
  • Retirement benefits, retroactive to the date of her wrongful termination, including catch-up contributions to CalPERS
  • Paid time off for sick leave, vacation and personal time off

Throughout the case, Hanchett's dedication to law enforcement was apparent; her goal was to return to the job that she enjoyed and she was able to do so.

Hanchett is one of two female officers employed by the San Fernando Police Department. She asserted in her lawsuit that she was subjected to harassment based on her gender and sexual orientation. She referenced several occasions when she was referred to derogatorily as "sausage" by coworkers at the police department.

Hanchett exposed serious issues with protocol at the department that may have contributed to the death of an inmate in 2011. There was no indication as to whether the City would separately follow up on the information presented about individual officers' wrongdoing in the lawsuit.

Source: The San Fernando Valley Sun, "$700,000 Settlement Will Be Paid To SFPD Sgt. Nichole Hanchett," April 11, 2013

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