Former officer sues HCPD, claims discrimination based on sex in job applications

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – A former police officer has filed a lawsuit against the Horry County Police Department, claiming she was discriminated against based on her sex in several job applications.

Jodi Ridgeway filed the lawsuit on October 28 against the HCPD, according to the lawsuit. Ridgeway’s attorney is listed as Bonnie Travaglio Hunt, of Hunt Law LLC in Goose Creek, South Carolina.

Ridgeway is a female over the age of 40 and was a resident of Horry County at the time of the alleged incidents, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit states that on December 6, 2018, Ridgeway filed a charge of discrimination against HCPD with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In this charge of discrimination, Ridgeway claims the following:

  • “That I have been employed with the Employer since October 24, 2011. That I was hired as a Patrol Officer. That I am currently employed as a Recruiter.”
  • “That on October 9, 2018, I applied for a position to IA Inspector.”
  • “That I was interviewed and well qualified for the position.”
  • “That I was not hired for the position. That an African American male was hired for the position.”
  • “That I was informed the Employer that I feel as though I have been discriminated against. That based on those complaints I was subjected to a hostile work environment that is severe and pervasive.”
  • “That I have been discriminated against based on Race and Sex in violation of Title VII.”
  • “That I have been subjected to hostile work environment in violation of Title VII.”

On March 22, 2019, Ridgeway filed a second discrimination charge, the lawsuit said. This charge claimed:

  • “That I was not selected for a position previously filed a charge of discrimination for Sex, Race, and Hostile Work Environment which is still pending with the EEOC.”
  • “That after my charge of discrimination was filed with the EEOC another position with the IA department came open in January 2019.”
  • “That another male employee was selected for the position without following the proper procedures.”
  • “That I was not selected for the position in retaliation for my charge of discrimination.”
  • “That I was retaliated against in violation of Title VII for my previous complaints.”

Ridgeway filed a third discrimination charge on July 30, 2019.

The lawsuit states that in September 2018, a man resigned from his position as an inspector with Internal Affairs and an inspector position became open.

This position was posted on Horry County’s website in October 2018 and Ridgeway applied on October 9, 2018, along with several other people, according to the lawsuit. Several people were selected for interviews, which were reportedly conducted in early November 2018 by a panel of six people.

Ridgeway claims in the lawsuit she “was congradulated for performing so well in the interviews” and the “Interview Board believed that the Plaintiff was going to receive the position.”

The lawsuit further claims the department didn’t hire any of the three people who “scored highest and were the most qualified” and that the chief decided to hire “a less qualified African American in direct contradiction to the Interview Board’s recommendation” for the position.

The lawsuit also claims that after the chief made a decision on who to hire, the chief told Ridgeway he selected this man “because he was an individual that he trusted and that the Plaintiff did not understand the challenges that a black man faces in law enforcement.”

The man hired for the position “was not qualified for the position, he had not received training, was not licensed as an officer in South Carolina, no college education and was required to attend the training academy,” states the lawsuit.

The full lawsuit can be read here.


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