The California Concord Police Department has faced their fair share of sexual harassment claims dating back to 1998. Female officers including Ms. Heinemann was one of eight women who split a $1.25 million settlement in 1998 after suing the department for sexual harassment.
In January 2011, Heinemann received a $150,000 settlement after claiming she had been discriminated against as a woman because she was passed over for a promotion. Heinemann also received an additional confidential amount of workers’ compensation.
Fast forward to 2011 and another sexual harassment lawsuit is filed against the Concord Police Department and its highest-ranking female officer by a nonsworn female employee. This case was settled for $150,000 before going to court.
In the settlement, Community Service Officer Wendy Schwartzenberger will receive $51,352.70, and her attorneys will receive $98,647.30.
Ms. Schwartzenberger’s lawsuit alleged that Lt. Robin Heinemann had made a series of sexually charged comments to her, as well as unwanted physical advances, including hugging and kissing her. Schwartzenberger also accused Heinemann of making inappropriate comments about Schwartzenberger’s sexual orientation and her relationship with her partner.
“[W] believe the settlement is in the best interests of all concerned, given the contested nature of the claims, the costs of litigation, and the disruption to staff that trying this case would entail,” the city attorney Mark Coon said in his statement.
Schwartzenberger’s suit was the most recent of five sexual harassment, discrimination or retribution suits the Concord department has faced. All have been settled for amounts ranging from $47,511 to $750,000.
Meanwhile, both Schwartzenberger and Heinemann remain employed with the Concord department dispute being awarded large sums of money for sexual harassment claims. The Harman Firm is ready to answer any of your questions regarding sexual harassment in the workplace and employees should not fear losing their job because they bring a claim.