The Ninth Circuit has held down an interesting ruling that upheld an award of $600,000 for Deanna Freitag, a former guard who alleged that she was sexual harassed by male inmates. The allegations stem from the conduct of inmates in the maximum-security prison at Pelican Bay.
Freitag alleged that the inmates engaged in “lewd exhibitionism and exhibitionist masturbation” and that the warden and other officials were abusive in failing to stop it by only disciplining the inmates lightly for the misconduct.
A jury agreed in San Francisco, awarding Freitag $500,000 for lost wages and $100,000 for emotional distress in March 2003.
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One thought on “Federal Court Upholds Sexual Harassment Award for Female Guard Harassed by Inmates”
Obviously they acted badly, but this seems like a no win situation for the prison administration (and therefore for the citizens of California).
Option 1: Don’t hire female guards for a maximum security prison. Employment discrimination – pay up.
Option 2: Act as they did, but instead, act to quickly and immediately stop the behavior. Given that this is a maximum security prison – this doesn’t mean taking away snack time. Rather this involves physical intervention by other prison guards. In doing so, not only do you open yourself up to greater medical costs for both guards and inmates, but to potential lawsuits from the inmates should they believe the force to be excessive. Pay up.
Option 3: What they did – pay up.
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