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Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination Alleged Against NBPD

Two former Newport Beach employees are suing the city for discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and sexual harassment. One is a former police officer and one a former police dispatcher.

In her employment discrimination lawsuit, Christine Hougan asserts that she was sexually harassed and physically intimidated by the police chief. She was fired in 2012 after 20 years of working for the City in both full- and part-time positions.

Hougan claims that the police chief had made inappropriate comments about his feelings for her and had used his physical presence to intimidate her on more than one occasion. She claims in her lawsuit that she was unfairly fired from her dispatch position 11 months after handling a tough call but being denied any counseling support to work through it.

Her husband, John Hougan, filed a separate suit against Newport Beach for wrongful termination and retaliation. He was fired for arguably questionable reasons after testifying in a former colleague's lawsuit against the City. Prior to his testimony, Hougan had received glowing reviews for his work with the police department. After his testimony, he was demoted at least twice and was targeted for internal investigations at least three times, according to his suit.

Hougan filed an appeal of his termination with the Newport Beach Civil Service Board, but has since withdrawn his appeal.

This has already been a rough year for the Newport Police Department. At least three other former officers have filed employment discrimination suits against the NBPD recently.

Source: L.A. Now, "Ex-Newport Beach dispatcher claims sexual harassment by chief in suit," May 3, 2013

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