Justice Department Resolves Sex Discrimination Claim
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Justice Department Resolves Sex Discrimination Claim against California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

On April 16, 2014, the Justice Department stated that it had taken part in a settlement contract that, if the court approved it, will answer claims that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) victimized a staff member due to his gender in breach of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In July 2013, the department filed its complaint against CDCR in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The complaint asserted that Joe Cummings, a male CDCR cook, was sexually harassed by a female colleague and CDCR was unsuccessful in taking opportune steps both to stop the harassment and deal with it. Title VII forbids employment discrimination due to gender, which consists of sexual harassment, in addition to color, national origin, race, and religion.

As stated by the complaint, Cummings’ colleague made recurrent unwelcome sexual advances toward Cummings for over one year. The complaint contended that the colleague often made vulgar and sexually evocative remarks to Cummings that he openly rebuffed as unwanted. It additionally charged that the colleague’s unsuitable spoken interactions with Cummings rose, eventually, to unwelcome bodily contact. As maintained by the complaint, Cummings and other CDCR employees protested many times to their supervisors about the harassment. However, CDCR fell short of taking opportune corrective action to both stop the harassment and chastise the harasser. The complaint contended that CDCR’s failure to assume opportune action to deal with sexual harassment breached both Title VII and CDCR’s own anti-harassment rule, which demands its supervisors to stop sexual harassment and immediately deal with sexual harassment complaints.

According to the conditions of the settlement contract, CDCR must compensate Cummings $50,000 in compensatory damages and reinstate leave that he specified he utilized to attempt to evade the supposed harasser. Furthermore, CDCR must uphold suitable anti-harassment and anti-retaliation rules and methods. Additionally, it must offer suitable training for its employees on these rules and methods.