Crime & Courts

Wichita police lieutenant sues city, alleging sex discrimination and retaliation

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A female police lieutenant is suing the city of Wichita, alleging sex discrimination and retaliation after she was passed over for promotion to captain.

Wichita police Lt. Sarah Oldridge alleges in an amended complaint filed Thursday in federal court that she applied for a promotion to captain in March, but “a lesser qualified male lieutenant was promoted to captain.” The lawsuit was filed by Donald Peterson and Sean McGivern of Graybill and Hazlewood.

Oldridge says in court documents that Police Chief Gordon Ramsay used an anonymous survey as part of the selection process.

“The Chief of Police sent out a survey from Survey Monkey,” her lawsuit states. “Each Officer competing for promotion would be anonymously rated by members of the department. The Chief stated the survey will assist him in the selection process. I began to question the department’s promotion procedures but I never received answers to my questions.”

She alleges that Ramsay would not speak to her when she continued to question the promotion process, even after she was notified in April that she was not moving on in the process. Six days after she sent a detailed email to human resources and members of the department, she was told she had been placed under investigation because of her email, she says.

“I believe I was denied a promotion because of my sex (female) and disciplined (placed under investigation) in retaliation for complaining about unfair treatment,” Oldridge says in the suit.

She says she filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 30, but her complaint was dismissed two days later.

The lawsuit requests a jury trial and more than $75,000 in damages.

Oldridge was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant in August 2015, The Eagle reported at the time. She says in court documents that her employment with the department began in 1997.

Wichita police said in a May 16 Facebook post that Lt. Travis Rakestraw and Lt. Wendell Nicholson were both promoted to captain. Oldridge’s lawsuit does not identify who was chosen for captain over her.

Police spokesmen and a city attorney did not immediately respond the a request for comment Thursday night.

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