PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Aug. 25 that the GEO Group Inc., operator of the Central Arizona Correctional Facility (CACF) in Florence, Arizona, will pay $60,000 after allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation.
"Women have every right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment and sexual advances," said EEOC Phoenix regional attorney Mary Jo O'Neill.
"Sexual harassment is degrading and inexcusable. In its June 2016 workplace report by acting chair Victoria Lipnic and Commissioner Chai Feldblum, the select task force on the study of sexual harassment in the workplace identified several studies that demonstrated that sexually harassed women then experience depression, general stress and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and overall impaired psychological well-being. No employer has the right to cause or encourage such damage to its people."
The EEOC said Roberta Jones, an employee of GEO, was subjected to sexual harassment by managers and other employees since June 2007. When Jones complained of the harassment, the company allegedly failed to properly respond. Additionally, GEO purportedly assigned Jones to less-desirable posts and eventually terminated her after she complained.
"Retaliation is pernicious as well as unlawful. More than 45 percent of all charges the EEOC receives allege retaliation,” said EEOC Phoenix district director Elizabeth Cadle. “It discourages workers from asserting their rights, and it encourages harassers to continue their mistreatment of other employees. Employees must feel free to report sexual harassment or other discriminatory acts without negative consequences."