Wednesday, December 17, 2008
San Onofre: Not Lesbian Friendly?
San Onofre: A park ranger has sued the California Department of Parks and Recreation, saying she was harassed and discriminated against during the six years she worked at San Onofre and San Clemente state beaches because of her gender and sexual orientation.
Jennifer Donovan, in a lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court, said sexually explicit material was regularly posted in locker rooms and elsewhere in her workplace, including sex toys, obscene drawings, women's underwear and negative comments against homosexuals.
Donovan, who is a lesbian, said she also was forced to work in a sexually charged workplace where supervisors routinely made disparaging and offensive remarks.
In her lawsuit, Donovan said she was ““subjected to constant sexually explicit jokes, pictures, gestures and comments and expected to participate or at least not complain, among other things.””
She also said she was passed over for promotion in favor of other rangers with less experience, including one man who was under investigation for posting nude pictures of himself on a state computer.
““This is the kind of behavior that should not go on in any police department. It's really shameful,”” said Donovan's lawyer, Wendy Musell.
Donovan, 43, was transferred to a post in Humboldt County in 2006, her lawyer said. She is seeking an unspecified amount of money in damages.
““We're hoping not only that Ms. Donovan will be made whole but that there will be systemic changes,”” Musell said.
A department spokesman, Roy Stearns, declined to comment because he said department lawyers have yet to review the case.
Donovan filed her lawsuit in August, but the case was dormant until last week when she retained Musell's San Francisco firm, Musell said. She said the case was reactivated Monday when the Parks and Recreation Department was served.
Before going to court, Donovan filed harassment and discrimination complaints with the department, but ““it was not taken seriously by the department”” and Donovan was retaliated against, Musell said.
In her lawsuit, Donovan said that in some instances when she applied for promotions, the positions were eliminated by her bosses so they wouldn't have to give the job to her.