Posted On: October 27, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Prison Pays $1.3 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment Case

Dominion Correctional Services, LLC and Corrections Corporation of America, both doing business as Crowley County Correctional Facility, paid $1.3 million and other significant remedial relief to settle a large sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of 21 female former workers. The workers were allegedly subjected to a gender based hostile work environment and retaliation at an all-male, privately run medium security prison in Olney Springs, Colo.

According to the lawsuit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleged female employees at the prison were subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment that included male managers forcing them to perform sex acts in order to keep their jobs. This adds new meaning to the idea of working hard to get ahead. According to the lawsuit a female officer made a complaint of sexual harassment against a male coworker, and was then placed in an isolated location, where she was raped by the man about whom she had complained.

Another shocking allegation is that the Chief of Security forced a female corrections officer to have intercourse with him, which she did in order to keep her job. Other male managers similarly expected their female subordinates to provide sexual favors. A female corrections officer was coerced first into performing oral sex, and later intercourse, with a male captain, for fear of losing her job. Another female officer testified that a male lieutenant regularly made comments to her about how she looked and commented that he could do a lot better than her husband. He then allegedly told her that if she wanted to keep her job she needed to sleep with him. She resigned.

"We at the EEOC see an unfortunately high number of sexual harassment cases, but what allegedly happened here was shocking,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “No working woman should ever have to endure harassment and requests for sexual favors by managers in order to earn a paycheck – or suffer retaliation for complaining about the illegal harassment.”

The lawsuit further alleges that female employees who complained about the hostile work environment were retaliated against. The retaliation included ostracizing the women after their complaints were publicized, scrutinizing their work, accusing them of misconduct, and assigning them to the worst and most dangerous work assignments at the prison.

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