Mike Cruz, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Created: 01/30/2012 10:27:09 AM PST

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – A workplace discrimination lawsuit has been filed in Superior Court against Ontario Police Chief Eric Hopley by his former administrative assistant Brenda Vallejo.

Vallejo alleges in the lawsuit that Hopley and the city discriminated against her when she returned from family medical leave in July 2010. She had received treatment for thyroid cancer.

Upon returning to work, Vallejo alleges Hopley’s demeanor and behavior toward her changed. Specifically, Hopley created a hostile work environment and reassigned her to work with a sergeant.

Vallejo considered the move a wrongful demotion that was not comparable to the duties and responsibilities she had when working with Hopley. Weeks later, Vallejo was reassigned again to the Detective Bureau.

“When she got sick, everything changed,” said Vallejo’s lawyer Sandra L. Noel, of Redlands. “His attitude towards her changed.”

Hopley spoke to Vallejo in a demeaning and hostile manner, refused to respond to her greetings, made demeaning facial expressions, shunned her and excluded her from information needed to perform her duties, according to the lawsuit.

Vallejo’s work with Hopley, which was often of a confidential nature, was given to other individuals, her lawyer explained.

“He made a concerted effort to let her know she was no longer wanted,” said Noel. At the time of her medical leave, Vallejo had been with the department for a year.

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