Tanisha Ross-Paige, a former St. Louis police officer, won a staggering $7.5 million judgment from the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners through a sexual harassment claim. Her settlement may be the largest payout for such a case in Missouri history.
The court threw out a claim of racial discrimination.
Attorney John Eccher, who represented Ross-Paige, boasted, “Everyone will take notice that retaliation and discrimination in the workplace ends today.”
The original lawsuit from 2011 claimed that Ross-Paige’s supervisor, Sergeant Steven Gori, made and posted a mock “wanted” poster of Ross-Paige with the caption, “Subject wanted for having the baddest body in the St. Louis area. Use extreme caution when approaching this subject. Approach this subject from behind for your own safety.”
The suit asserted that Gori asked Ross-Paige, who was married, to sit on his lap and skinny-dip with him in his hot tub. He also told her to take off her bullet-proof vest so he could “see what she is working with.”
After Ross-Paige filed a complaint, Gori and then-Lt. Michael Deeba put her on bad shifts along with writing different performance reviews from those they wrote about her co-workers. They also denied her time off requests. The lawsuit alleged that Gori threatened to take away the dog partnered with Ross-Paige if she wouldn’t date Gori and that when the dog was retired from the police force it was given to a groundskeeper instead of Ross-Paige, which is against the usual procedure.
Ross-Paige, a canine officer, was injured by a dog on the police force in 2012 and was permanently disabled. She moved to Baltimore and has since separated from her husband.