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Sexual Harassment - By Inmates in Correctional Facilities

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for Sexual Harassment of Female Employees By Prisoners, 2010 (7) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.

     A female correctional officer who worked in a sex offender unit at a youth correctional facility claimed that a male prisoner targeted her for sexual harassment, including open masturbation and various threats. She quit her job and sued the facility for a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation. Upholding a judgment for the defendant on all claims, the Montana Supreme Court found that the defendant had extended and held open an offer of a transfer to a different unit to the plaintiff for approximately one year before she quit and that it also promptly and reasonably offered a solution to end the inmate's harassment of her by making the transfer available. Puskas v. Pine Hills Youth Corr. Facility, #DA 12-0515, 2013 MT 223, 371 Mont. 259, 2013 Mont. Lexis 313.
     Eleventh Circuit affirms a judgment for female correctional officers. A reasonable jury could have found that Florida prison officials should have enforced the inmate dress policy, which required inmates to wear pants when female staff were in the close management dorms. Beckford v. Dept. of Corrections, #09-11540, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 9452, 109 FEP Cases (BNA) 360 (11th Cir.).
     Federal appeals court affirms judgment for a woman corrections employee that was raped by an inmate janitor. The plaintiff previously complained about the inmate's behavior, but no remedial action was taken. Erickson v. Wis. Dept. of Corr., #05-4516, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 28125 (7th Cir. 2006); 2005 U.S. Dist. Lexis 19529 affirmed (W.D. Wis.). {N/R}
     Second Circuit reinstates a hostile environment claim brought by women correctional officers, who alleged that management tolerated the circulation of two inmate letters that degraded them. Although a certain amount of lewd behavior is anticipated in a prison environment, the plaintiffs claimed that management inaction undermined their authority and made their job more dangerous. Dawson v. Co. of Westchester, #03-7858, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 11595, 93 FEP Cases (BNA) 1697 (2d Cir. 2004). [2004 FP Sep]
     Federal appeals court affirms a $125,000 verdict because a male coworker encouraged male inmates to engage in sexual harassment. Slayton v. Ohio Dept. of Youth Services, #98-4528, 206 F.3d 669, 82 FEP Cases (BNA) 289, 2000 U.S. App. Lexis 3751, 2000 FED App. 0091P (6th Cir.). [2000 FP 75-6]
     Federal court dismisses woman corrections officer's bias lawsuit which claimed that the Dept. of Corrections failed to adequately discipline male inmates who exposed themselves in her presence. Wright v. Dept. of Corr., 1998 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20074, 31 F.Supp.2d 1336, 78 FEP Cases (BNA) 1520 (M.D. Ala.). [1999 FP 43-4]
     Minn. Dept. of Corrections pays $460,000 to settle the claims of three ex-officers who said they were subjected to derogatory comments, were required to view inmate shower areas although it was against DoC policy. Semrau v. Minn., Ramsey Co. Dist. Ct. #C9-94-933, 33 (1627) G.E.R.R. (BNA) 1051 (1995). {N/R}
     California jail employee awarded $50,000 in her suit for sexual harassment by inmates and retaliatory discharge. Troxa v. Contra Costa Co., Super. Ct. #C9304028, 107 (126) L.A. Daily J. [Verd. & Setlmts.] 3 (1994). [1994 FP 157]
     Federal appeals court requires all-male prisons to adopt procedures to prevent women correctional officers from seeing undressed inmates. Canedy v. Boardman, 16 F.3d 183 (7th Cir. 1994). [1994 FP 124]
     Female corrections officer, depressed from viewing a male inmate who repeatedly masturbated in her presence, had "good cause" to resign and collect unemployment benefits. State Dept. of Corrections v. Stokes, 558 So.2d 955 (Ala. 1990).

  
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