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$2,500 Paid to Disabled Vietnam Vet to Settle Discrimination Complaint Stemming From His Job as a Federal Prison Guard

James Vaughn and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) entered into a settlement agreement in July 2001 to settle a discrimination complaint brought by the Vietnam veteran. The complaint, which settled for $2,500, alleged that Vaughn was employed as a prison guard at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix (FCI PHX) where he was discriminated against due to his physical disability.

According to the complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Vaughn was hired at FCI PHX under the Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program (Title 38 U.S.C.), but then was constantly threatened with termination if he could not perform such tasks as heavy lifting and other manual labor. Vaughn said he was denied scheduled salary increases and denied sick leave and other paid leave in retaliation for his complaints about his treatment.

Vaughn said he was treated differently based on his status as a disabled Vietnam veteran, and pointed to the treatment other disabled employees received as evidence. Three prison employees that worked in the warden's office and were in arm slings or a full leg cast, for example, did not receive letters from personnel -- like he did -- stating that if he could not perform his job duties or obtain a medical evaluation, that would place him at risk of termination.

Vaughn also said he was subjected to a hostile work environment in the 12 years he worked in the BOP since 1988, with comments such as "Men only do the labor work";'Imen are good for nothing"; "Vietnam Vets don't belong here"; and "if you can't do the work, there's the door." After complaining about these incidents, Vaughn said his job performance evaluations were downgraded.'

The $2,500 settlement settled all of Vaughn's claims, with no party admitting fault or wrongdoing. It is unclear from the documents provided if Vaughn remained in the employment of the BOP. See: Vaughn v. Ashcroft, EEOC No. 350-A1-8063X.

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Related legal case

Vaughn v. Ashcroft