Justice Dept. settles with Franklin Co.

September 29, 2009 12:27:12 PM PDT
The US Department of Justice announced Tuesday it's settled a lawsuit against Franklin County that alleged it retaliated against a former employee who claimed she was sexually harassed. The accusation centered on Karen Dorrans - a former employee of the Department of Public Utilities in Louisburg. She initially filed a complaint of sexual harassment by a co-worker to her supervisor and human resources manager at the Department of Public Utilities.

According to court documents, Dorrans said the co-worker put his hand to his groin area in her clear view and watched her obsessively around the workplace.

The Justice Department charged, Franklin County told Dorrans that in order to consider her grievance she must first confront her alleged harasser. When she didn't, she was disciplined.

Now, the DOJ and the county have entered into a consent decree that prohibits the county from engaging in any act or practice that retaliates against any county employee. The consent decree also requires the county to implement and disseminate a policy that prohibits retaliation and to provide mandatory training regarding the law of equal employment opportunity and prohibited harassment and retaliation to all supervisory employees. The decree further requires the county to provide Dorrans with $17,500 in compensatory monetary relief.

"All workers deserve the basic right of going to a workplace each day that is free of discrimination and retaliation. We are pleased that the county will promptly implement new policies and procedures that comply with Title VII,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King.

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