Dayton police officer sues department over sexual discrimination

Tonina Lamanna stands with others while they're promoted to the rank of Sergeant in Feb, 2016 (Dayton City Government photo).
Tonina Lamanna stands with others while they're promoted to the rank of Sergeant in Feb, 2016 (Dayton City Government photo).

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – K-9 Officer handler Tonina Lamanna is suing the Dayton Police Department for allegations of sexual discrimination.

Lamanna, described as the “first EVER (sic) female in the patrol operations division of the K-9 Unit of the Dayton Police Department”, is also under the age of 40, according to court documents. She claims that multiple instances of sexual discrimination have occurred since her hire in Jan. 2011 — a hiring process she claims was in itself discriminatory. She initially applied for the job in 2010, but was not offered the job “despite being the most qualified candidate,” according to documents.

She claims in her hiring process, she was asked “what she would do if she got pregnant and if she was strong enough to handle a canine,” according to court documents. When she filed a charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, she was “eventually” offered the position of canine handler, according to documents.

After placing as a top candidate for a promotion, Lamanna was advised that she was not qualified for the position because she hadn’t held the title for more than five years, a specification that wasn’t in place for “white-male officers prior to (Lamanna’s) appointment to Canine Handler,” according to documents. If she had been hired for the position in 2010, when she first applied, she would have been eligible for the position. However, since she wasn’t hired until 2011, it made her ineligible.

She said that because of the discrimination, Lamanna said she’s been denied training, required to provide medical slips when taking leave when others (white males) have not been required to do the same, denied leave time, subjected to adverse changes in the department policies with respect to retired canines and the amount of time commitment required, according to documents.

Lamanna is asking for a judgement of $75,000, back pay and benefits, front pay and benefits, compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, attorney fees and other costs.

2 NEWS has reached out to the Dayton Police Department, who said it does not offer comment on ongoing lawsuits. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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