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RENO, Nev. -- A Reno secretary for the Nevada Highway Patrol has filed a lawsuit, claiming her male co-workers created a hostile work environment and repeatedly sexually harassed her.Terry Lukas' suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Reno, is the latest in a series of such complaints lodged by female employees against the NHP and Department of Public Safety.
In her complaint, Lukas contends the NHP has an informal group of male employees known as "The Brotherhood" who discriminate against women and permit bad acts against women.
Her suit further claims her supervisor commonly called her a derogatory name and said women have no place in the workplace.
Last month, DPS Sgt. Bonnie Kendall filed a federal lawsuit, claiming her co-workers repeatedly sexually harassed her. The NHP is part of DPS.
Kendall, assigned to the state's cadet training academy, claims state officials removed NHP cadets from the academy to punish her and discriminate against her.
DPS spokesman Dan Burns said he could not comment because the suits are pending.
The complaints follow a $480,000 settlement paid in May to training division Capt. Jacquelyn Sandage, the NHP's first female captain and highest-ranking woman.
Sandage's federal suit claimed she was sexually harassed, worked in a hostile environment and was retaliated against by NHP officials because she is a woman.
Sandage, Lukas and Kendall are represented by Reno lawyer Mark Mausert, who declined to comment.
In court documents, Mausert alleges the NHP has a "sexual harassment culture" after a 2002 audit ordered by the department director found similar cases.
NHP Trooper Mary Howard sued the state in 1995, saying she was sexually harassed for years and officials did nothing.
A jury awarded her $500,000, which was later reduced to $425,000 when the state agreed not to appeal.
In 2000, NHP Sgt. Patricia Kinard received $60,000 in damages and $200,000 in lawyer fees related to a 1996 incident.
Burns said the earlier cases predated the present director and he had to hear back from some DPS officials counsel before commenting.
 
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