Former part-time police officer sues North Versailles claiming gender discrimination

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A Buena Vista woman sued North Versailles officials late Tuesday, claiming she was fired as a result of gender discrimination from her job as a township police officer with seven years' service.

Desiree Smith Mihalic started with the township in 2005 as a part-time officer with the department of around two dozen officers, according to the complaint attorney Dennis Moskal filed.

When some officers were promoted to full-time status, Ms. Mihalic was asked if she had "any mental or physical impairments that may affect your job," according to the complaint, characterizing that as an impermissible question.

Ms. Mihalic, according to the complaint, was passed over for overtime stints, given undesirable assignments and called "crazy," "stupid" and "blonde."

In June 2011, she filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging discrimination, after which police Chief Vince DiCenzo Jr. suggested that she quit and scheduled her irregularly, according to the complaint.

She was fired three months ago, according to the complaint.

The treatment and firing amount to gender discrimination, retaliation, violation of equal protection, violation of free speech rights and defamation, according to the complaint. The lawsuit seeks compensation, reinstatement to the department and promotion to a full-time position.

The township's manager, police chief and solicitor could not be reached for immediate comment.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.


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