Veteran Woman Police Officer Claims Gender Discrimination

A 25-year veteran of the Massachusetts State Police and the first woman to be promoted to major in the state has filed a suit claiming she was the victim of sex discrimination. Kathleen Stefani filed the complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the 7th filed by women in the state police in the past year-and-a-half, according to the Boston Globe. Stefani was demoted to the rank of captain in March and received a large pay cut after she allowed a women’s advocacy group to recommend her as well as other women to Republican Gov. Mitt Romney for high-level appointment, according to the Associated Press.

Colonel Thomas J. Foley, the state police superintendent, told Stefani she “should never have sent [her] resume to the Governor’s Committee” and that she “was ‘disloyal’ for doing so,” Stefani alleged in her complaint, according to the Globe. Stefani was one of the applicants for the state police superintendent position when Foley was appointed in 2001. Diane Skoog, executive director of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, suggested that Foley may have seen Stefani as a “threat.” “She’s very qualified and if she’s a viable candidate, maybe [Foley] is nervous about his own job,” she told the Globe. Her most recent job evaluation, from April 2002, was very favorable.

Stefani was replaced by the only eligible female commanding officer, which Stefani alleges is an attempt by Foley to maintain a “token” system under which no more than one woman holds the rank of captain or major at one time, the Globe reports.

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Boston Globe 6/23/03; Associated Press 6/23/03, 6/24/03

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