A bathroom door without a working lock led to friction in the Mount Oliver Police Department and the firing of its lone female officer, according to a lawsuit filed late Monday.
Laura Murray, 34, of Wilkinsburg sued Mount Oliver, Mayor James Cassidy, acting police Chief Matthew Juzwick and four council members, saying they denied her a promotion and fired her after she complained about the lack of a women's room in the station.
Borough officials declined comment Tuesday. The borough has argued in an unemployment compensation process that Ms. Murray was fired because she stopped communicating with the acting chief, jumped the chain of command, adjusted the duty schedule without authorization and took no action at a scene to which she was dispatched.
Ms. Murray was hired in 2006 and later promoted to corporal, according to the lawsuit.
She complained to superiors and later to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission about the department's lone bathroom. A male officer once barged in on her, according to the complaint, and when the borough fired the person charged with cleaning the bathroom, that duty fell to her.
Her lawsuit claimed that as a result of her complaints, she wasn't promoted to sergeant.
The harassment worsened, according to the complaint, as officers made sexual comments in front of her and showed her an explicit video on a cell phone.
She was reassigned to night shift and eventually was fired in April. An unemployment referee and a review board upheld the borough's denial of benefits to Ms. Murray. Her attorney, Vincent Mersich, said that "has no bearing on this case."
Mr. Mersich said that Ms. Murray has not been able to return to police work.
Ms. Murray alleged sex discrimination, harassment, denial of due process, breach of contract and retaliation for her complaints. She seeks back pay and other damages.
Rich Lord: email@example.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.