Arizona court tosses jury award for sexual harassment

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The Arizona Court of Appeals has overturned a $375,000 jury verdict awarded to a former Surprise police detective in a sexual harassment lawsuit, saying she didn't follow an administrative procedure.

The appeals court panel's ruling said former detective Alicia Peterson should have filed a claim under the Arizona Civil Rights Act before suing. Since she didn't follow that procedure, she lost her right to sue.

Peterson resigned in September 2005, but alleged she was effectively fired in retaliation for reporting repeated instances of sexual harassment.

Tuesday's ruling, written by Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen, was sympathetic toward Peterson. The evidence at trial showed repeated abusive acts by her co-workers and Johnsen said "what happened to Peterson belongs in no workplace, let alone a public workplace whose purpose is law enforcement."

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