A woman who was at one time the youngest person ever given the rank of Commander on the Denver Police Department has filed a retaliation claim against her employer.
In her claim, she alleges that her ex-boss, now the former Chief of Police, punished her after she complained about his actions, actions she says were inappropriate behavior for the workplace. The alleged behavior could have legally involved gender discrimination or sexual orientation discrimination.
Although she has kept her rank and her six-figure salary, the Department recently transferred her out of her role in which she oversaw almost 200 officers and other employees. Now, she has a role in which she does not supervise anyone and acts as a liaison from an office located outside the city limits.
The woman says that she was the victim of the former Chief’s inappropriate remarks on several occasions. She said he made sexual innuendo about her and about women at the gym where the Chief sometimes worked out.
She was reportedly rebuked when she complained about the remarks, and she also faced opposition and the threat of retaliation when she defended one of her subordinates who was undergoing an internal investigation for what she saw as discriminatory reasons.
While the City of Denver cleared the Chief of any wrongdoing as part of an internal personnel investigation, the Commander has filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. Depending on the outcome of that complaint, the next step may be for the Commander to file suit against her employer and seek compensation and other relief.
One important thing to remember about this case is that retaliation can take a number of forms. In this case, the allegation is that the Commander was given an effective demotion by having a lot of prestigious job duties removed from her so she could work a position that had been vacant and then held by a lower ranking employee. Employees who find themselves in similar circumstances may have legal options.