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Security officer dismissed following sexual harassment complaint

A 25-year veteran security officer at the Pennsylvania Senate was just recently fired due to what her bosses have described as conduct that "has been quite problematic."

Curiously enough, her dismissal comes six months after the officer sued officials in the Senate for tolerating a culture that permitted sexual harassment on the job -- and just two months after she was summarily told to turn in her badge and escorted from the premises.

Despite the fact that she'd been employed by Senate security for more than two decades, Senate officials claim that they have an entire binder full of documentation showing that she was a bad employee, prone to violating the Senate's policies and rules. They declined to share the details, however, citing her lawsuit.

If it seems like the action might be retaliatory to you, you aren't alone. While a victim's advocate noted that it's difficult to make guesses about the case without access to all the information, the timing of the employee's dismissal certainly seems to broadcast a very specific message: "Speak up, and you will be fired."

An attorney for the Senate said that there is no retaliation, but they claim that the woman's behavior was a problem only for the last 12-18 months. That coincides with the first report she made in late 2017 about sexual harassment by a supervisor. Her complaints included the fact that her supervisor had sent her unsolicited texts with pictures of male genitalia and lewd graphics and cartoons. The same supervisor was also accused of similar lewd actions toward another woman in the security office. She has also filed a lawsuit.

The Senate has been paying the supervisor's legal bills and he has denied the allegations. In the words of one attorney working on behalf of the victim, "Watch the case for further developments."

If you've suffered sexual harassment on the job, with or without retaliation, it may be time for a legal consultation to learn more about your rights and options.

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