A Los Angeles police officer is suing the city, alleging a sergeant caused her emotional distress by mocking her for being pregnant while speaking to other officers.
Serena Zavala’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges discrimination and harassment. She seeks unspecified damages.
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Wednesday.
Zavala, hired in 2016 and assigned to the 77th Street Station, was five months pregnant in November 2021 when she heard a sergeant mention her name with the use of an expletive, according to the suit. The same sergeant asked two other officers in his presence whether Zavala was on “light duty” due to a urinary tract infection, according to the suit.
When one of the other officers responded that Zavala’s light duty level was due to her being pregnant, the sergeant replied, “Oh well, when she comes back, I’ll punch her in the gut a few times because she deserves it,” the suit alleges.
“Plaintiff was shocked at these statements and viewed them in total to be a credible threat upon her person and her unborn child,” the suit states. She also believed the alleged remarks violated LAPD rules and the city’s policy of not tolerating gender harassment or discrimination, the suit states.
Zavala complained to management about the sergeant’s alleged statements and an LAPD captain said he also considered the remarks to be “harassment” and a “serious criminal threat,” the suit states.
Zavala’s health and emotional state have been negatively impacted by the sergeant’s alleged remarks and believes she was discriminated against and harassed because she was pregnant, the suit states.