Justice Department Suit Accuses CA Dept. of Corrections of Sexual Harassment
08/22/2013 // Keller Grover LLP // Keller Grover, LLP // (press release)
Inappropriate touching, sexual advances, and profane comments are what led the U.S. Justice Department (USDOJ) to file a lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) based on allegations of sex discrimination, according to an announcement released by the (USDOJ), reports Los Angeles employment lawyer Eric Grover.
The plaintiff, Joe B. Cummings, originally brought his complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The case then was transferred to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Los Angeles office (EEOC), which conducted an investigation into the claims and referred the case to the USDOJ.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Cummings endured sexual harassment by a female co-worker for over a year until October 2009, when he was placed on administrative leave for unrelated reasons.
Cummings, who was a male cook with the CDCR, “endured frequent unwanted and unwelcomed sexual advances made by a female co-worker towards him, which escalated in August 2008 when she shoved her hand down Cummings pants and hit him on the head,” according to the USDOJ’s release.
The harassment also included “frequent profane and suggestive comments and inappropriate touching of his person.”
The USDOJ maintains that Cummings reported the harassment several times to his supervisors, but they did not take steps to put an end to the harassment or reprimand his co-worker. In addition, the DOJ charged the CDCR with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion.
Further, the complaint accuses the CDCR of neglecting to follow its own anti-discrimination policy, which gives CDCR’s supervisors the responsibility of preventing and taking steps to correct allegations of sexual harassment made through a report or by personal observation.
“Sexual harassment doesn’t always mean that the male is the aggressor, as this case points out. It can occur with anyone, regardless of their sex,” says the Los Angeles employment lawyer at Keller Grover. “If sexual harassment has been affecting you in the workplace and your complaints have fallen on deaf ears, it’s important that you seek the help of an experienced employment lawyer to help you navigate the complex legal system and help fight for your rights.”
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