Cop Accuses SDPD of Sexual Discrimination - NBC 7 San Diego

Cop Accuses SDPD of Sexual Discrimination

Veteran detective says she was “harassed and retaliated against”



    A veteran detective is suing the San Diego Police Department for sexual discrimination, harassment and age discrimination.

    Deborah Burger worked with the SDPD as a sex crimes detective for 22 years and said the harassment and discrimination issues began in 2009, according to court documents.

    Burger filed the lawsuit Thursday against the department and four supervisors and coworkers.

    She claimed male detectives in her unit created a hostile work environment with offensive sexual comments, slurs, photos and other conduct.

    Detective Suing SDPD

    [DGO] Detective Suing SDPD
    A female detective is claiming her office participated in lewd behavior.
    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011)

    Adding to the hostile work environment, Burger said that when she complained to SDPD internal affairs, she was "harassed and retaliated against."

    Most of the problems began to occur when one particular detective was employed in the Sex Crimes Unit in 2009, according to the court document. Burger said that the detective gave male employees better treatment than female employees, and would often send members of the unit lewd emails, such as picture of women and men in suggestive and sexual poses.

    The same detective would make sexually disparaging remarks about female sex crime victims as well as employees.

    Another detective circulated a "man test" via email that made offensive references.

    The City Attorney defending SDPD declined to respond to the allegations.

    "There's nothing to say at this point other than the fact that our office will be providing a defense and that we will advise the City Council."

    The SDPD also has no comment.

    Paul Cooper, counsel to the chief of police, issued a statement saying, "The allegations in this claim are well over a year old and have been fully and completely investigated. If any corrective action were necessary, it would have occurred long ago."

    Cooper also wrote that the claim is only one side of the story and he is confident the city attorney will successfully defend these claims.

    Legal analyst Dale Larabee, who is not associated with the case, said that Burger has good cause to file the law suit, as she has taken several steps to stop the harassment.

    However, Burger will have to prove that he was a "pervasively hostile work environment" that affected her ability to work.