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$25,000 Settlement in DC Guard’s Sexual Harassment Suit

The District of Columbia (DC) paid $25,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Verna Byrd, a guard for the DC Department of Corrections (DOC).

Byrd had worked for DOC since 1998. In 2002, she began working at the DC Jail under the supervision of Lt. Isiah Cobb. Shortly thereafter, he began “oogling” her and making comments about sex and her personal life.

On March 4, 2003, Cobb came up behind Byrd while in a sexually aroused state and bumped his knees against the back of her knees, causing Byrd to fall backwards onto Cobb and his genitals. On other occasions, he made kissing noises and said he was thinking about her.

Byrd wrote to DOC’s director on April 4, 2003, concerning discriminatory practices, but nothing was done to discontinue the sexual harassment. On May 5, 2003, Byrd filed a written complaint of sexual harassment through DOC procedures. Cobb was found to have violated DOC’s program statement, but had not created a hostile work environment in a November 8, 2004, final decision by the investigator.

As a result of the harassment, Byrd underwent psychological treatment. She accepted settlement on April 5, 2006. She was represented by Washington DC attorney Anne H.S. Fraser. See: Byrd v. District of Columbia, USDC, District of Columbia, Case No. 1:04-cv-2231.

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Related legal case

Byrd v. District of Columbia