Female Police Officers File Lawsuit Against UK

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A lawsuit filed against the University of Kentucky and its acting police chief alleges reports of gender discrimination were ignored.

Seven current or former female officers filed the suit Wednesday in Fayette Circuit Court.

One woman, Lisa Blankenship, alleges that acting Chief Joe Monroe retaliated against her for filing a report with the university's Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. Blankenship says in the lawsuit that she was forced to return to work from disability leave, even though her return had not been cleared by a doctor. She was later fired after the university wasn't able to accommodate her temporary disability, the lawsuit alleges.

University spokesman Jay Blanton said UK does not comment on pending litigation.

A gender discrimination complaint filed with UK's equal opportunity office by the women in February alleges that Monroe created an uncomfortable work environment by discussing his exploits drinking and partying at strip clubs. They said regular participation in these activities was a vehicle for favorable treatment.

The complaint also alleged disparate punishment for men and women and favoritism in job assignments.

The lawsuit seeks damages for loss of income and benefits, emotional distress and mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation. It also seeks punitive damages.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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