Johnson started with the Pinellas County Sheriffâ€™s Office (PCSO) in April of 1997. She became a bailiff and was originally assigned Civil Court in Pinellas County. The sergeant in charge, Eugene Hoffman, was assigned Civil. The lieutenant was John Bocchichio and was in charge of the civil bailiff section. In November of 1997 Hoffman made sexual jokes in front of her and other employees of both genders while on their lunch break. Johnson is unable to describe the jokes Hoffman was saying. While in front of other employees Hoffman asked her if she smoked while having sex. Johnson replied no and that she is a nun. The sexual comments continued and his comments were unspecified sexual comments. She never provoked or objected Hoffmanâ€™s sexual statements.
Johnson learned by talking to the other bailiffs that this is common for Hoffman. Johnson did not complain because she did not want to be targeted as a troublemaker with her superiors. Johnson did attempted to avoid Hoffman but was unable to. In February 1998 Johnson made her first complaint to Bocchichio about the sexual comments Hoffman makes. Hoffman was already complained on previously for his sexual remarks. Hoffman was counseled by Bocchichio. Hoffman apologized to Johnson for his sexual remarks but returned to his sexual comments later on. Johnson feels that there is pressure to remain silent due to backlash from the department.
Johnson was then assigned to a time slot that other bailiffs stated were least desirable and she was assigned to the least wanted position. Johnson was give more demanding assignments than others and was not allowed to flex time. She told Bocchichio that Hoffman still continued and Bocchichio offered to transfer her to get her away from him which she denied. On October of 1998 Johnson was reassigned and was told the transfer was because Hoffman could not be moved. Johnson had no idea who made the decision. Johnson felt the transfer was because they wanted to silence her instead of fixing the problem. In this new area Johnson felt isolated and felt she was treated differently. She feels due to her being labeled a trouble maker the department gave her the worst trainers in hopes she fails. She felt that since she complained about Hoffman there was retaliation. Johnson states she suffers from emotional trauma and distress due to the sexual hostile work environment and she experienced racial discrimination. Johnson feels that there was no effective remedial action being done to Hoffman.
The courts ruled in the favor of all defendants in this case. Johnson had little to no evidence and her statements about the discrimination were very vague.
I agree with the courts. I would have ruled in the favor of the defendants as well due to Johnson not having any evidence to prove her statements. She was also offered a way to work away from Hoffman and a supervisor did try to intervene in getting Hoffman to stop. The lack of evidence to prove her statements is the main reason that they did not rule in her favor. Anyone can make up that they feel a certain way but they need evidence to prove it is actually occurring.
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