April 2nd, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

City Council to Consider Paying $170,000 for Nipple-Related Cop Lawsuit


The Portland City Council is set to consider next Wednesday whether to pay $170,000 to a former rookie cop who claims she faced retaliation by the police bureau after a trainer complained about her nipples.

As previously reported in WW, Nicole Whitley filed suit against the city and the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training in 2007. The department runs the Oregon Public Safety Academy, which trains cops, prison guards and firefighters. Here's more from that 2007 story:

As a probationary Portland officer, Whitley attended basic training at the academy's old location in Monmouth from January to March 2006, before it moved to its present location in Salem in June 2006.

According to the lawsuit, two male trainers at DPSST -- Lt. Raymond Rau and Sgt. Daryl Tate -- called Whitley in for a meeting Feb. 1, 2006. Rau allegedly told Whitley her nipples had been showing through her uniform during training the previous day, and asked her what sort of bra she'd been wearing. She told him it was a sports bra. He told her to wear a coat and extra layers of clothing during training.

Whitley's lawsuit says she had undergone a breast reduction for medical reasons, and as a result had "no control over the nerves in question." According to the lawsuit, Whitley was hot and uncomfortable in the extra clothes and felt "self-conscious in having to dress differently than her colleagues."

In addition, the lawsuit says students and trainers at the academy "questioned her suitability as a police officer due to her physical appearance."

According to the lawsuit, Whitley complained to her bosses at the Portland Police Bureau that she felt singled out. She suffered a knee injury Feb. 6 and filed for workers' compensation. On Feb. 10, according to the lawsuit, her teachers told her that she was underperforming and threatened to expel her.

The lawsuit claims this was the first time she'd ever received negative feedback about her performance. Nevertheless, she was the only member of her class not to graduate, even though other students had discipline problems.

The lawsuit claims Whitley was discriminated against because of her gender and her injury. It claims the City of Portland has a "custom, policy or practice" of terminating recruits if they complain, and seeks unspecified damages for violating Whitley's civil rights.
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