LINCOLN, Neb. - A trooper for the Nebraska State Patrol says she was put through an unnecessary and invasive medical exams before joining the force, according to a lawsuit filed in Nebraska District Court.
The woman is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for the “infringement upon her constitutional rights”, “discrimination and hostile work environment”, and for the “intentional infliction of emotional distress”.
The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, alleges that in September 2014, the woman was a candidate for employment for the Nebraska State Patrol, when she submitted to a pre-employement physical examination.
According to the lawsuit, all candidates, male and female, had to undergo the examination. However, the plaintiff reported that during her exam, she was asked to "lay on her back on the examination table, bend her knees to put her feet flat on the table, and open her knees exposing her genitalia" to the male doctor, who is from Lincoln.
The lawsuit says woman was told the exam was required to check for hernias, but male recruits were generally not required to undress or undergo such invasive exams.
The lawsuit also reports the plaintiff questioned her personal physician, and "learned there was no legitimate medical purpose for the described procedure."
In addition to the reported invasive procedure, the plaintiff is also stating the department tried to cover up her complaints.
The lawsuit claims that in the fall of 2014, after the plaintiff learned the procedure was not medically necessary, she reported it to a supervisor.
As more female recruits were going through the examination process with the same doctor, the lawsuit says the plaintiff became “increasingly anxious and concerned by the command structures’ inaction, which created a hostile and dangerous work place for women.”
In February 2017, the woman reportedly asked another superior, Col. Brad Rice, about the complaint.
In late March, after the woman told Rice she had hired an attorney, an email exchange between counsel for the Nebraska State Patrol and counsel for the Nebraska Troopers Association made it “clear the plaintiffs concerns were being dismissed and the events covered up,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit has been brought against the state of Nebraska, the Nebraska State Patrol, Col. Bradley Rice, Col. David Sankey who retired in 2014, the doctor, three "Jane Does" and three "John Does".
The lawsuit is filed in the wake of Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts firing Col. Rice, the head of the Nebraska State Patrol at the time, in late June after an investigation into use of force and other matters.
A spokesman for Gov. Ricketts released the following statement to 1011 News on Wednesday:
“Immediately upon learning of these allegations in June, the Governor instructed his Chief Human Resources Officer to review this matter, which has subsequently resulted in a criminal investigation by the State Patrol.”