Former Woodson Terrace police officer sues for gender discrimina - KMOV.com

Former Woodson Terrace police officer sues for gender discrimination, wrongful termination

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Judy Garner said she was fired by the Woodson Terrace Police Department  after she spoke up about harassment by other officers. Credit: KMOV Judy Garner said she was fired by the Woodson Terrace Police Department after she spoke up about harassment by other officers. Credit: KMOV
WOODSON TERRACE (KMOV.com) -

A hostile work environment, discrimination and wrongful termination. Those are just some of the things a former Woodson Terrace police officer says went on during her employment. Now she's suing, alleging it happened because she's a woman. 

"I did the same job that these guys did and I just got treated differently," said Judy Garner, who started as the only female officer at the Woodson Terrace Police Department in May 2008. 

"When I started at Woodson, I had to ride with my chief for 10 days. Nobody else had to do that," said Garner. 

As the days went on, she said, officers would say derogatory names to her, make fun of her weight and make up songs about her being a stripper, something she says was not true. 

"They would sing songs about me having three kids, that I was a single mom. I would dance on the side to support my kids, and they would flash the flash light around like at a dance club," she said. 

She said her passion for police work kept her going. 

"I was humiliated. I knew I couldn't say anything about it because if i did, it would have made it worse," she said.  

In April, Garner was fired, something her attorney said was in retaliation for her speaking up. 

"There are good officers in the Woodson Terrace Police Department, but the bad police officers need to know there is a place in this country anymore that is going to tolerate these racist sexists behaviors, it is unacceptable," said Garner's attorney Lynette Petruska. 

This is not the first time the Woodson Terrace Police Department has faced a lawsuit by a former employee. Former officer Ray Baker, sued the city and others for racial discrimination and retaliation in June 2014.

Baker claimed he was the only black employee hired in the city’s history and was passed up for promotion, even though he was more qualified. According to Garner's lawsuit, his suit was settled for $94,789.97. 

Woodson Terrace later released a statement:

The City of Woodson Terrace, the Mayor and the City’s police department strenuously deny Ms. Garner’s allegations of retaliatory discharge, gender discrimination, harassment, and hostile work environment directed against her. Ms. Garner was terminated from her position as a Woodson Terrace police officer for (1) deception in a lie detector test during an internal investigation into her allegations of harassment and (2) failing to adequately investigate and report a residential burglary. The decision to terminate was made by a unanimous vote of the City’s Board of Alderman, which included four women. 

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