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Burbank Police Officer Sues To Stop Sexual Harassment At Work

Cindy Guillen, a public relations officer to Burbank's Spanish-speaking community, is now in court rather than at work. She did not want to pursue legal action against her employer, but after complaints of sexual harassment and harassment based on her ethnic background were not investigated, she decided to file a lawsuit against her employer.

Guillen began working for the Burbank police department in 2000 and was the first Latina to work for the department. She was described by her attorney as an "outstanding police officer."

During her time at the Burbank PD, Guillen was threatened with sexual assault by a Sergeant if she did not shut up. She was stalked by another Sergeant who repeatedly asked her out. Neither Sergeant was disciplined by the department despite the acts creating an atmosphere of harassment, a hostile work environment and affecting how other coworkers viewed her.

When Guillen married and became pregnant, she was harassed about her weight gain and informed that, despite her pregnancy, she would still have to comply with height-weight standards.

The City denies the harassment charges and asserts that everyone was subjected to the same inquiries related to their physical readiness to do their jobs. The City did investigate one of the Sergeant's involved in the harassment claims, however it found that he simply "failed to have a proper relationship with officers," rather than that he was involved in any discrimination or harassment. The Sergeant opted to retire rather than face discipline within the department.

Source: The Burbank Leader, "Trial begins for Burbank police officer who claims harassment, retaliation," May 8, 2012

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