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BOP Employee Receives $45,000 Settlement for Retaliation

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) paid $45,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging retaliation for engaging in activity protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Melvin Dunlap began his career with BOP on October 16, 1983, as a guard.  He was an “exemplary employee” who received a “Special Act or Service Award” in 1992.  A few months later, he was promoted to a GS -11 position as a Supervisor Recreation Specialist at BOP’s Florence Colorado facility.  Dunlap received glowing annual performance appraisals over the next three years.

Problems began in 1993 with an investigation into “problems relating to racial discrimination and harassment against Black employees.”  Dunlap, a Black Male, was initially deemed someone who investigators could interview “because the administration presumed he would state positive things about the administration.”

Later, the BOP learned Dunlap “would not support its position with respect to Black employees’ alleged treatment,” and he was “specifically ordered…not to speak to the investigators during the Institutional Character Profile.”

Nonetheless, investigators contacted Dunlap and he gave a statement.  That prompted two long interviews with investigators from BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs that Dunlap subsequently walked out of.

He was then suspended, filed an EEOC complaint, and was fired.  His termination was reversed to a 30 day suspension by the Merit Systems Protection Board.  Despite being ordered to return to his position, Dunlap did not return.  The warden again suspended Dunlap.  A new administration put him back into his old position, but his complaint alleges he was retaliated against by being denied numerous promotions and training opportunities.  The BOP settled the matter for $45,000 on December 28, 2001.  See:  Dunlap v. Reno, USDC, D. Colorado, Case 98-N-2622.

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