Atkinson, NE – The police chief of Atkinson, Nebraska is being sued after refusing to hire a female police officer candidate, saying the northern Nebraska ranching community wasnt ready for a female cop.
Rhonda Olson filed a lawsuit recently in U.S. District Court, alleging she was rejected for hiring in 2008 by Atkinson Police Chief Tim Larby. Olson was adequate qualified for the position having a degree in criminal justice, and having prior law enforcement experience. The chief, according to the lawsuit, hired his brother-in-law for the job, even though he was less qualified.
Olsons lawsuit reported Larby had told her he didnt care about her qualifications, and that he had hired the person best suited for the job.
Olson, who subsequently moved from Atkinson to become a police officer in Yankton, South Dakota, said in the lawsuit that last year, she learned of another reason she may not have gotten the job. During a legal proceeding over a workers compensation claim, Olson was shown a background check report compiled by the Yankton Police Department that included a 2008 interview with the Atkinson police chief.
According to the lawsuit, Larby said that he had not hired Olson because he doesnt think the community is ready for a female police officer and that it wasnt a battle he was willing to take on, the lawsuit said. The chief, the report went on, had nothing negative say about Olson.
A key issue in the lawsuit will be whether the four-year statute of limitations for such discrimination lawsuits has already passed. In the lawsuit, Olsons attorney, Kathleen Neary of Lincoln, argues that since her client didnt learn of the discrimination until last year, she can still bring the complaint.