By Bob Roberts

CHICAGO (CBS) — A police officer filed a federal civil rights suit Wednesday against south suburban Markham, claiming discrimination because she is a lesbian.

Officer Brittney Jackson’s complaint has alleged the harassment began when she joined the force in May 2010, and continued despite numerous complaints.

She alleged one officer asked her why she didn’t “give the men on the force a chance,” and claimed another told her, “You need to stop this ‘I’m gay’ mess.” Jackson said others told her what she supposedly needed.

She claimed the most abusive officer pushed her, refused to back her up on the job, and told her, “If you want to act tough like a man, then you can handle your own.”

Jackson claimed women on the force who have engaged in sex with male officers have been promoted, given better assignments, and held to a different standard. Her lawsuit alleged the other officers’ actions and the city of Markham violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Jackson set the stage for the suit by filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. EEOC issued a Right To Sue letter in October.

Jackson’s one-count lawsuit seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

WBBM has attempted to obtain reaction from the Markham Police Department and the city of Markham.

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