Federal Jury Finds City of Philadelphia Discriminated Against, Harassed, and Retaliated Against Female Police Officers
May 24, 2022, Philadelphia, PA – Attorney Ian Bryson of the Derek Smith Law Group in Philadelphia secured his clients a $1 million jury verdict against the City of Philadelphia. The lawsuit resulted in the resignation of former Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Richard Ross Jr. and one of the largest sexual harassment and retaliation verdicts ever handed down against the City of Philadelphia.
In January 2019, Corporal Audra McCowan and Police Officer Jennifer Allen filed internal complaints of sexual harassment against Police Officer Curtis Younger. After they complained, the Police Department retaliated against both women by changing their job assignments and hours of work without notice and taking unwarranted disciplinary actions against them. The Plaintiffs were also forced to endure a series of hostile interrogations by the Police Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs, who investigated the female complainants instead of the male harasser. This was part of a conscious failure of the City of Philadelphia to protect the Plaintiffs from the abusive conditions created by their fellow employees, amounting to intentional discrimination.
The Plaintiffs had worked for the police department for more than 15 years each, and both intended to have long careers in law enforcement. Unfortunately, however, the City of Philadelphia’s harassing and retaliatory conduct forced both Plaintiffs to resign from their positions.
The jury found in favor of Corporal McCowan and Officer Allen, and against the City of Philadelphia, on Plaintiffs’ claims of sex and gender discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation. To prove the Plaintiffs’ case, Attorney Bryson presented testimony from sixteen witnesses and experts, including former Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr., Deputy Police Commissioner Christine Coulter, and Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart.
The jury awarded each Plaintiff $500,000.00 in compensatory damages for emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and reputational harm they suffered as a result of the City of Philadelphia’s actions.
Attorney Bryson was assisted at trial by Scott E. Diamond of the Derek Smith Law Group.