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$1.75 Million Awarded In Ex Prison Guard Sexual Harassment Suit

Joyce K. Broughton, a former prison guard at the Colorado Women's Correctional Facility (CWCF), in Canon City, filed a law suit against CWCF, alleging that her supervisors sexually harassed her on the job.

Broughton, started working at CWCF on July 1, 1998, and was fired in February 1999, allegedly for allowing a prisoner to gain access to the prison's control room. Broughton, filed a law suit against CWCF, after she was fired, alleging that she was sexually harassed by two of her supervisors, Lt. Dennis Nix, and Lt. Doug Wilson. Broughton, alleged that Nix grabbed her crotch while they were on duty, her first day on the job, and that he repeatedly made sexist remarks to her, calling her "your attractiveness." Broughton also claimed that Wilson told her that she "should be home baking cookies."

In 2001, the case went to trial, and the attorneys for the Department of Corrections (DOC) claimed that Broughton was fired for allowing a prisoner to gain access to the prison control room and that her allegations of sexual harassment were false.

Broughton's attorney, Erika Birch, told the jury that Broughton only allowed a prisoner who was part of a work detail to clean an open door to the control room, and that the sexual harassment allegations were true, that being the real reason she was fired. Nix was also the one who recommended that Broughton be fired, and despite the allegations against Nix, the DOC promoted him to captain.

The jury agreed with Broughton, and awarded her $1.75 million for emotional distress. Broughton was also entitled to back pay and attorney fees. However, Birch said that a state law capping such damages will reduce her award to around $300,000. In a statement to reporters, Broughton said, I have been victimized and humiliated, and I am glad the jury saw that."

Source: Rocky Mountain News

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