ELKO — The city paid $22,500 to settled a lawsuit with a former police officer who claimed ranking officers treated her unfairly because of her gender and created a hostile workplace.
Cassandra Sabo, hired as an officer in October 2012, filed suit against the City of Elko and individual members of the police department, claiming she was bullied and told, among other sexist comments, that women didn’t belong in law enforcement. Sabo resigned from the force in January 2013.
In its response, the city denied the allegations. In May, the two sides agreed to a settlement, which was finalized a month later. The settlement dismisses the lawsuit.
“For the mere fact of entering into the agreement neither party has admitted fault or wrongdoing,” Calder said. Instead, the agreement was a means of resolving the dispute, he added.
Jeff Dickerson, co-counsel for the plaintiff, released a statement arguing the lawsuit was less about monetary rewards and more about standing against gender discrimination.
“It was never about the money,” Sabo said in a statement released by her attorneys, Dickerson and Julie Cavanaugh-Bill. “I wanted to educate the chain of command about federal law against discrimination against women in the workplace. Hopefully, bringing them into federal court has inspired re-examination of City policies, so women entering the force will find a better working environment.”
Calder said the city’s insurance carrier, Nevada Public Agency Insurance Pool, paid the plaintiff $22,500 on behalf of the city. Both sides were ordered to pay their own legal costs. Calder said the city paid a $5,000 deductible for attorney fees.
Sabo alleged that an internal investigation regarding the matter was conducted to discredit her. She claimed that a male who was hired around the same time wasn’t treated the same way.
Two of the four defendants named in the complaint — Chief Don Zumwalt and Capt. Will Lehmann — retired in the past year and are no longer with the police department. Lt. Ty Trouten and Sgt. Matt Locuson were also named as defendants.