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West Bridgewater officer alleging sex discrimination wins first round in MCAD complaint

Officer Joyce Graf claims the police chief treated her differently than male officers.

By Maureen Boyle
Posted Jul 18, 2008 @ 04:12 AM

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination refused to dismiss a gender discrimination complaint against the Police Department, saying there was enough evidence to hear the case.
The MCAD, in a finding this month, found there was probable cause "to credit the allegations" filed by officer Joyce Graf, who claimed the police chief refused to place her on the injured-while-on-duty list after she hurt her back while moving a sign.
She claimed male officers were placed on that list without question.
Both sides are now set to attend a conciliation hearing Oct. 21 to see if the case can be settled before it goes to a public hearing.
Graf was granted injured-on-duty status about 11/2 months after the 2006 injury and is now receiving yearly base pay of $51,705 tax-free.
Graf, who said she also injured her back while working in 2003, has been a full-time police officer since 1993.
She alleged she hurt her back a second time while moving a street-crossing sign on March 28, 2006. She said Police Chief Donald Clark on April 6, 2006, denied her request for injured-on-duty pay. Since Graf had no vacation or sick time left, he told her in a letter that she would not be paid, according to MCAD paperwork.
She said she wasn't paid from April 7, 2006, to May 13, 2006.
After a second doctor confirmed the cause of the injury, the police department then allowed her to work "light duty." Under that restriction, she was not allowed to be alone in the station or interact with prisoners.
She said, however, she was left alone in the station and was forced to interact with prisoners.
She was eventually granted injured-on-duty status - and given back pay - but alleged she underwent more scrutiny and her case was delayed more than those of male officers who had been injured.
She also claimed she was disciplined for failing to fill her cruiser gas tank at the end of her shift, failing to conduct the required suicide checks of inmates, for clocking in and leaving after eight hours and "leaving a mess in the kitchen." Male officers, she alleged, were not disciplined the same way.
The town denied her allegations, saying Graf had been disciplined for "being lazy" and other policy violations and the other officers didn't commit the same infractions.
If there were any similar infractions committed by other officers, the town said it disputed her account of the punishment.
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