Scores of federal prison workers are seeking financial compensation for alleged sexual harassment that occurred at a complex in Florida. The female workers allege they have been groped, threatened with rape and forced to watch public masturbation during their time at the prison. The female workers also claim the Federal Bureau of Prisons has failed to protect employees even after the claims were submitted for supervisory consideration.
Many of the incidents involve inmates’ sexual indiscretions. The complaint alleges many supervisors simply throw away written complaints about the inmates’ behavior.
These women have been granted a powerful class-action status despite vehement objections from the Bureau of Prisons. This status gives the group of women additional credibility, especially when the case is processed through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Attorneys for the workers say the administrators have a responsibility to ensure inmates are not simply running wild within the prison walls. At least 60 women filed an affidavit in connection with inmates’ behavior, claiming they witness public masturbation at least once each week. One woman who teaches at the prison said an inmate in her class masturbated until he ejaculated, and others say they frequently find sperm in public areas at the prison.
Furthermore, the women are subjected to degrading sexual language during their everyday lives at the prison. This type of treatment was not tolerated at the federal facilities the women have worked at before, according to courtroom statements; as a result, the women know their rights should be better protected during their work hours.
This case is a great example of third-party sexual harassment; the women are not necessarily being harassed by their supervisors, but rather by a “customer” of the prison system. Their employer still has a responsibility to protect them from the sexual advances and harassment perpetuated by the inmates.
Source: www.mcclatchydc.com, “Women workers at Florida prison win class-action status in sexual harassment case” Michael Doyle, May. 29, 2013