The Missouri Department of Corrections once again has settled a sexual discrimination case. The latest legal case was settled in March when the state agreed to pay $350,000 to a female prison guard who worked at a community release center in Kansas City.
The female employee had worked as a correctional officer since 2006, and filed a lawsuit in 2016 after her claims weren’t taken seriously by management. She alleged that male co-workers blew kisses at her while on the job, and another told her that “women cannot do the job.”
Once she reported the incidents in 2009, the female employee said managers retaliated by denying her bathroom breaks.
Missouri DOC involved in many such cases
The Missouri Department of Corrections has had its share of sexual discrimination and harassment settlements. In February, a female prison guard received nearly $600,000 in a sexual harassment case. Also, in October, a female probation officer received nearly $320,000 after being sexually harassed by a supervisor. In this latter case, the victim claimed that in relation, she had been poisoned.
As a result of these discrimination cases, Anne Precythe, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, replaced 75 percent of the senior managers and wardens at the state’s 21 prisons since she began the job in 2017.
State government is not immune to sexual harassment in the workplace. For the tide to turn on this reprehensible behavior, workplace cultures must change. Yes, they need to change through improved rules, stricter enforcement, and a firm declaration that lets harassers know that such behavior is unacceptable and illegal.