— The U.S. Department of Justice
recently approved a settlement from a sexual harassment case filed in May of 2008 in which five Dona Ana County
, New Mexico, custodians claim the county subjected them to a hostile work environment, according to a press release
The complaint alleges that over the course of approximately 10 months, the male supervisor of the female custodians regularly used derogatory and offensive gender-based terms to describe women and commented about the sexual activities of women, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
, the release stated.
According to the complaint, despite Dona Ana County receiving
multiple complaints about the harassment, they repeatedly failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action to stop the harassment.
Under the terms of the settlement, Dona Ana County must offer to pay $150,000 divided among the five female victims to compensate them for their emotional suffering
, the release noted.
Thomas E. Perez
, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division
, said: "It is critical that employers understand what constitutes sexual harassment, and that they take allegations of harassment seriously. The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring that all individuals are able to exercise their right to report to workplaces that are free of harassment, and that employers who become aware of harassment within their ranks root it out promptly."
The settlement also requires Dona Ana County to
make additional changes to its policies and procedures related to discrimination, including changes related to reporting and investigating complaints of discrimination and disciplining offenders and individuals who receive reports of discrimination but fail to take appropriate action, the release added.