The GEO Group -- one of the nation's largest private prison firms, which is frequently the subject of scandal arising from repeated human rights violations at its for-profit facilities – has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against the company in 2015 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The suit was filed on behalf of Roberta Jones, a former guard at the Central Arizona Correctional Facility (CACF), who accused the company of workplace sexual harassment and retaliation. CACF, located in Florence, is privately owned and operated by the GEO Group under contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections.
According to the lawsuit, Jones was routinely subjected to sexual harassment by her male superiors and coworkers at CACF. Her repeated complaints about the abuse were ignored by corporate officials; however, she alleged the complaints prompted her supervisors to retaliate by assigning her to undesirable work posts, issuing arbitrary “write-ups” for fabricated attendance issues and eventually firing her. Additionally, following her termination, Jones’ former managers continued to harass her by initiating contact with her new employer and providing a searingly negative performance review regarding her prior employment with GEO Group.
The case settled with the parties entering into a consent decree, which was approved by the district court on August 24, 2017. GEO Group will pay damages to Jones in the amount of $60,000, which will cover back pay and all accrued interest. The company further agreed to fulfill certain requirements as a preventative measure against future allegations of sexual harassment, which include conducting a review of corporate policies and providing additional training to staff members and managers at CACF, among other provisions.
Though GEO Group did not expressly oppose the terms of the settlement as set forth in the consent decree, the company did not admit to wrongdoing. See: EEOC v. The GEO Group, Inc., U.S.D.C. (D. Ariz.), Case No. 2:15-cv-01909-SPL.
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Related legal case
EEOC v. The GEO Group, Inc.
|U.S.D.C. (D. Ariz.), Case No. 2:15-cv-01909-SPL