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Firm obtains $2M gender bias verdict for female Boston Police detective

Issue:  A three-decade veteran of the Boston Police Department, the firm’s client rose through the ranks from police cadet to lieutenant detective.  Soon after a promotion to a higher rank and new position, she lodged gender bias accusations against a male supervisor.

Challenge:  The firm had to persuade a federal jury that the client was the victim of gender bias, a hostile work environment, and retaliation after she complained of the discrimination.  Another hurdle was proving emotional distress damages, as well as a lost job promotion within the Department because of the discrimination.  The Boston Police Department contended that it did not treat the firm’s client any differently than her male counterparts and that she expected preferential treatment because of political connections to then-Mayor Martin J. Walsh.  The Department also claimed it had concerns over the client’s job performance.

Solution:  The woman’s career was derailed when her male supervisor engaged in a campaign to undermine her rise in the police department shortly after she was promoted to a new position in the department’s Family Justice Center, which included units focused on human trafficking and crimes against children.  The firm successfully introduced evidence that for over a year the client was denied a request for a private office like those given to male officers of the same rank and was instead assigned to a cubicle. The firm also introduced evidence that the male supervisor micromanaged the client’s unit, undercut her authority with subordinates, and conducted secret audits of her cases.  After raising complaints about the supervisor’s actions, the Boston Police Department in retaliation reassigned her to a less-desirable position at the Boston Police Academy, derailing a likely promotion to the Department’s command staff.

The jury, which deliberated about 3.5 hours following the three-week trial, awarded $2 million in damages to the firm’s client for emotional distress, lost job promotion opportunities, as well as lost overtime, sick time, and vacation time.

Attorneys: Nick Carter and Lucia Passanisi