Friday, July 30, 2010

Millville Police Dept pays $100,000 to settle sexual harassment suit

On February 22, 2010, the City of Millville (Cumberland County) agreed to pay $100,000 to a female Millville police officer who sued her follow officers for allegedly subjecting her to "repeated humiliating and degrading sexual harassment."

In her suit, Jennifer Gentile claimed that her fellow officers and members of upper management would "make sexual comments about her breasts and what they desired to do to her sexually." She alleged that one of her superior officers would state that he always wanted to "get in her pants."

She claims that she would "basically hide in her office" and take the elevator to the basement to enter and leave the building to avoid contact with the harassing co-workers. She complained that upper management was not responsive to her complaints and took no action against her harassers.

The case is captioned Gentile v. Millville, Docket No. CUM-L-701-09 and Gentile's attorney was James M. Carter of Turnersville. The lawsuit and settlement agreement are on-line here.

None of Gentile's allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $100,000 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Millville or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Millville or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Gentile $100,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.