A federal judge in Orange County is allowing a female Fountain Valley Police Department (FVPD) officer’s employment discrimination lawsuit to proceed, though he decided to remove several claims from future jury consideration.
Jennifer Sherman believes she “had more field experience, more teaching experience and a better disciplinary record—making her equally or more qualified” than 10 male colleagues who won promotion to sergeant over her during an eight-year period.
Sherman claims she suffered unlawful discrimination, retaliation, gender bias, hostile work environment and attacks on her rights to equal protection from male dominated FVPD management.
“[Police management] allowed the gender stereotype of male leadership and their unfounded objections to a female supervisor to poison the promotion process against the plaintiff as a qualified candidate,” wrote Sherman’s Los Angeles-based attorneys. “After all her applications for promotion, [police management] defendants Daniel Llorens and Kevin Childe were aware of the plaintiff’s superior qualifications and significant experience. The evidence will overwhelmingly show that there were no legitimate reasons for not awarding [Sherman] the positions she applied for in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017/2018.”
Sherman says hostile management reluctantly promoted her in mid-2018 after she filed a complaint.
Lawyers for the city and police department assert that Sherman “has no facts to support” her contention that she was “as qualified or more qualified” than all the males promoted earlier and contend she is merely guessing about perceived discrimination and retaliation.
“[She] was never ranked above any candidate who was promoted before her,” they claim.
Judge Selna ruled Sherman is time-barred from complaining about her treatment from 2010 to 2013, but he allowed her claims of working in a hostile environment, deprivation of equal protection as well as police management’s failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation.
A July 23 trial is currently scheduled inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.