A former Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department psychologist is suing the county and the department, alleging she suffered a backlash for complaining about alleged gender discrimination that included leaving a dead rat in her parking space and a deceased rabbit in her driveway.
Christine Jones' Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges retaliation, gender discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeks unspecified damages.
An LASD representative issued a statement Sunday regarding the lawsuit.
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"We have not seen the lawsuit; therefore, we are unable to comment at this time,'' the statement read.
Jones was hired by the county in May 2007 and is one of a select group of people nationwide with a deep expertise in police psychology, according to her suit filed Thursday. Until April 2020, she was employed in the LASD's Psychological Services Bureau, which is part of the LASD's Personnel Command.
She served for several months that year as the bureau's acting director and prior to that was the assistant director, in which she was responsible for clinical and administrative supervision of sworn and civilian staff as well as 24-hour, on-call responses for critical incidents and other high-profile events, the suit states.
In 2018, an LASD industrial/organizational consultant with close ties to Sheriff Alex Villanueva and other LASD executives "took initial actions, along with other male employees, to destroy the career of plaintiff and her
female colleague, Dr. Jennifer Hunt,'' the suit alleges.
"Ultimately, the end goal was to ensure that the PSB was dominated and controlled by male employees, particularly in supervisory roles which plaintiff held because of her impeccable experience and skill,'' the suit
I/O consultants filed 19 "frivolous and retaliatory'' complaints against Jones that falsely accused her of wrongful conduct, the majority of which were closed with no finding of wrongdoing, and eight of which are
apparently still pending with no investigation, according to the suit.
Jones' complaints to management about the alleged disparate treatment were ignored, the suit states.
In November 2019, someone left a dead rat in her work parking spot and a deceased rabbit was placed in the driveway of her home, the suit states.
Jones went on medical leave in April 2020 because of stress and that same year she was reassigned to the coroner's office, a move that has "destroyed and crippled'' her chances of advancing within her field as a
psychologist, the suit states.