3 female employees file suit against MPD, alleging gender discrimination and harassment
WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three female Maui police employees are suing the Maui Police Department, alleging gender discrimination, retaliation, a hostile work environment and harassment.
The lawsuits were filed separately on Monday.
“All of these lawsuits have been brought because these women were not provided the simple dignity and respect that they deserve as women in a predominantly and historically male industry at the police department,” said attorney Joseph Rosenbaum.
The plaintiffs are Human Resources Director Melissa Magonigle, Lt. Audra Sellers, and Sgt. Ka Lae O Ka Ena Brown. The lawsuits also claim that Chief John Pelletier and former Deputy Chief Charles Hank retaliated against the three women when they filed complaints against them.
“Chief Pelletier further described that anyone who is insubordinate would be “filleted,” Sellers alleged in charged filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“The harsh retaliation that they’ve faced has come in the forms of lies, taking away their job duties, making it nearly impossible for them to do their job, let alone taking away their very divisions and trying to undercut them and undermine them in the workplace,” Rosenbaum said.
Brown testified before the Maui Police Commission back in September about her concerns.
“There’s an entire side of people who cannot speak up right now either because of the predicament that they are in or because they are afraid of retaliation,” Brown said.
Magonigle testified as well in August.
“Cursing at employees should not be part of police culture. Police culture should be treating employees and the public with respect, that should be part of police culture. Being aggressive towards females should not be part of police culture,” Magonigle said.
The lawsuit claims the women “suffered extreme mental anguish, outrage and great humiliation.”
Last year, the Maui Police Commission voted unanimously to not take any disciplinary action against Chief Pelletier after an investigation, done by a third-party, found the complaints against him were unsubstantiated.
Maui County declined comment on the allegations because the litigation is pending.
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