Twelve veteran female Denver deputies are taking a stand against sexual harassment they say they experience in the jail.
"It took a great deal of courage for these women to come forward because most of them have to go back into that environment and they know that they're going to catch grief for taking a stand -- but they had to do it," said Denver attorney Brian Moore.
Moore and Boulder attorney Wilbur Smith filed two lawsuits in Denver on Wednesday. Moore said one of the lawsuits includes ten female deputies, and the other includes two other deputies.
"People should not have to put up with this sort of behavior in the workplace," he said.
The lawsuits blame the city and the Denver Sheriff's Department for creating a hostile work environment.
The suit claims inmates perform "extreme acts" on a daily basis by, "demeaning plaintiffs with sex-based degrading language" and "exposing their genitalia" and "simulating masturbation while watching female deputies."
One of the deputies also accuses an inmate of groping her.
The lawsuit alleges that supervisors in the jail have done nothing to stop it from happening.
"We and our certainly our clients understand that a jail is a unique workplace and the department can't possibly completely eliminate what's taking place, but they are under an obligation to make a reasonable effort," said Moore.
The complaint states that female deputies have repeatedly reported the harassment to supervisors, but were encouraged "not to report violations" and often told "it's part of the job" and they "should be used to it."
"It's not the case of a bunch of rookies who didn't know what they were getting in to, they know what the job entails," further explained Moore.
Six of the deputies still work in the jail, while Moore said others left as a result of the harassment.
He said the deputies want damages, and more importantly, change.
"Most importantly it's getting the sheriff's department to make changes and take these issues more seriously so that the working environment gets better for them and future female deputies," said Moore.
The suit also claims female deputies are discriminated against when it comes to assignments in the jail.
Denver7 reached out the City Attorney's office who provided this statement:
“The City has not been served with the complaint. When we receive it, we will evaluate the claims and respond to them.”