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Published: Saturday, 3/12/2005

Harassment suit may cost city $73,400

The city of Toledo's law department is recommending settling a former city employee's sexual harassment lawsuit for $73,400.

An ordinance sent yesterday to Toledo City Council would pay Carol McMahon-Williamson of Oregon, a former city police dispatcher, and her attorney to settle the case.

Ms. McMahon-Williamson filed suit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in 2002 asking for more than $1 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. She alleged that she and other female dispatchers were subjected to sexual harassment, intimidation, threats, belittling, derogatory and sexually demeaning remarks, and practical jokes.

The settlement was worked out by a federal mediator, with no admission of wrongdoing by the city. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission found probable cause supporting the gender discrimination complaint.

Ms. McMahon-Williamson said she was forced to take a disability retirement in 2001 because of the treatment she endured while working in the police communications center.

Ms. McMahon-Williamson was among the civilian employees who moved to the communications center when the 911 system was reorganized in 1998.

The lawsuit claims the changeover of the 911 system was "met with resistance" by male police officers, and they treated Ms. McMahon-Williamson differently because of her gender.

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