UPD officer leaves force after filing gender discrimination complaint

Media Credit: Samuel Klein | Photo Editor

Linda Queen, who quit her job with the University Police Department yesterday, filed a complaint against GW for gender discrimination.

Within weeks of joining the GW police force, Linda Queen’s supervisors were allegedly following her during her patrols, told her lewd stories and asked intrusive questions about her sex life.

Then she said the harassment by the two senior officers – Sgt. Christopher Brown and Senior Cpl. Warren Gibbs – escalated. She suffered a panic attack and started taking antidepressants as she tried to avoid the pair during her shifts.

“Every night going to work, I dreaded it,” Queen, 25, said.

Queen quit her job at the University Police Department on Tuesday after filing a charge for gender-based discrimination against GW with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the D.C. Office of Human Rights in November. She had been on medical leave since December.

She also claimed that GW denied her promotions because she had complained about Brown and Gibbs, who were her supervisors. University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar declined to comment on the charges and UPD Chief Kevin Hay did not return interview requests.

Queen, a Maryland resident with a degree in criminal justice, joined the force in 2011 after learning about an opening from her brothers, Michael and Darryl Queen, who have worked at UPD for more than a decade.

About two years later, Linda Queen said Gibbs cornered her in a UPD break room on the Mount Vernon Campus and demanded that she greet him when entering the office. She said he grabbed her from behind and kept her arms pinned until she said “Hi, Senior Corporal Gibbs.”

Brown followed her for hours during nearly every shift they shared, she said, often pressuring her to go on dates with him.

Queen said she tried to switch shifts, change jobs and report the behavior to GW’s human resources office, but her pleas for help went unreturned.

Even after the incident in the break room, Queen said she did not want to come forward because she didn’t want to risk her future at the University or her brothers’ careers.

“I just didn’t want to jeopardize my professional relationship or make my job any harder than it already was,” she said.

Queen said her colleagues noticed the attention that Gibbs and Brown paid to her shortly after she arrived, and some thought she was in relationships with them. Gibbs often embraced her, picked her up and swung her in circles.

Queen is demanding that the University pay her $108,000 in lost wages because she took on lighter duties to avoid the harassment. She also wants GW to mandate sensitivity training for campus police officers.

Queen said the treatment reached a “boiling point” around the time of a roll call in which about a dozen other UPD officers were present. “It’s fuck with Linda Queen day,” she remembers Gibbs saying as he put his leg across her lap. The department had just completed sexual harassment training, she said.

After two other officers reported that incident to their union, Queen decided to file a complaint with University Human Resources. Queen said the University started to investigate Gibbs’ behavior in the spring, and shortly after, she received a letter from GW that said Gibbs no longer worked there.

She said the University did not open a case for Brown until October after her lawyers contacted GW. Brown remains employed at the University, Csellar said. Brown did not return a request for comment.

After the investigations, Queen said GW offered her only unpaid leave, which she said she couldn’t afford, and still would not rearrange her shifts.

She also believes that her complaints prevented her from rising in the department. Last year, she was told that she was not eligible for a promotion because she had failed an exam. She was also rejected twice for dispatcher jobs in UPD and accused Brown of lowering a performance evaluation after she had already received high marks.

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