A former Bethlehem police officer has filed notice she intends to sue the town over alleged sexual harassment when she was on the force.
Caitlin Dole, who resigned from her position with the police department in May, filed the alleged charges with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The notice does not list the official allegations, just that it involves issues of sexual harassment.
Town Supervisor John Clarkson said the town received a notice of a pending EEOC complaint from former BPD officer Caitlin Dole about two weeks ago. Since they have not received the complaint, he could not comment on any specifics of the case.
“When we received Officer Dole’s resignation in May, Bethlehem police command staff and our director of human resources discussed with her the reasons expressed for leaving and tried to address those concerns,” said Clarkson. “We asked her to consider remaining on the police force.”
Clarkson said at the same time, the town decided to take additional steps beyond its regular annual training to make sure that all Bethlehem police supervisors were aware of their responsibilities “to help ensure that employees do not face a hostile work environment.”
“An EEOC discrimination complaint is a serious matter and when it arrives, we will review the complaint carefully, look into any areas we need to, and take all steps necessary if there are problems that need addressing,” said Clarkson. “We want to be absolutely sure that our workplace environment supports a diverse and highly effective workforce, and that is and will remain the highest goal throughout this process.”
According to Clarkson, Dole was hired in January of 2014. She graduated from the police academy in July of 2014 and resigned from the police force in May 2015. She was one of three women to have ever served on the Bethlehem police force. Sgt. Regina Cocchiara remains the only woman currently with the department. Cynthia Reed Kerr retired in 2001 after 23 years of service.
Steve Kraz, president of the Bethlehem Police Supervisor’s union, responded on behalf of the town’s two police unions.
“We were sad to see (Dole) go and wish the best of luck in the future,” said Kraz “I don’t know what the complaint involves, so we can’t add anything at this time. To my knowledge, none of my membership has been indicated in the complaint. She was a very intelligent person, and we wish her success on whatever path she decides to go down.”
Dole’s lawyer, Daniel Maloy of the DeLorenzo Law Firm in Schenectady, could not be reached for comment.