Female State Police Officer Sues For Sexual Harassment
Ann Marie LaFauci a State Police office worker filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, alleging that a female lieutenant continually flirted with her, then bullied and threatened her after she rejected the advances. According to the lawsuit LaFauci claims Detective Lieutenant Barbara J. Bennett repeatedly called her “girlfriend,’’ once joked that she should wear a thong to work, and often insisted the two be alone for lunch or while driving to meetings. Bennett married her longtime female companion in 2004 after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. Bennett serves as the State Police liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community.
This is an unusual case as it not only involves sexual harassment but also sexual orientation discrimination and woman on woman sexual harassment. LaFauci alleges that she was upset by the overtures and told Bennett to stop at which point Bennett cut her hours, unfairly disciplined her, and told her, “Who knows, AnnMarie, accidents happen, they could find you in the back parking lot with blood pouring out of your head.’’ All of those would constitute retaliation and should not happen in the workplace.
“The way she was treating me was almost like a jealous ex- boyfriend being overpossessive,’’ said LaFauci, adding that she was once ordered to fetch toiletries from Bennett’s locker. “And when I told her I couldn’t be treated that way, she snapped.’’
Bennett in a performance evaluation of LaFauci wrote on her evaluation that she was the administrative backbone of their unit and highly motivated and enthusiastic in her work performance. Those statements may come back to haunt her during the trial because they should a good worker.