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BOP Pays $31,491 for Biased EEOC Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) was ordered to pay $31,491 in an employee’s Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint.

The complaint was filed by Sheila R. Hendley, a former Inmates Systems Officer at the Federal Prison Camp in El Paso, Texas.  She claimed that she was discriminated against because of her sex and disabilities, and retaliated against for filing a prior EEOC complaint.

Hendley was, according to her affidavit, on leave without pay (LWOP), for severe depression caused by a coworker’s sex harassment “between October 1993 and December of 1993” and for a lower back injury from lifting a mail bag.  When BOP received the Workers Compensation claim, it investigated the sexual harassment claim.

That investigation revealed Hendley and the coworker had “kissed and fondled each other in an equally consenting manner” and had “acted in an inappropriate manner.”  As a result, both were suspended for five days for inappropriate physical contact.

An EEOC Administrative Judge found the investigation was biased because it “turned the tables and condemned [complaint] of engaging in consensual sexual behavior inappropriate to the workplace” without interviewing Hendley or taking sworn statements from other witnesses.

The EEOC found Hendley proved she suffered emotional harm due to the biased investigation.  It ordered she receive $11,250 in compensatory damages for that harm, $230.68 for other damages, and $19,911 for attorney fees.  She was represented by attorney David Weiser.  See: Hendley v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. P-995-8649 (November  1, 2001).

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Related legal case

Hendley v. Federal Bureau of Prisons