If you drive about 250 miles southwest of Chicago, you will come to Fort Madison, Iowa. The modest town of about 11,000 sits along the Mississippi River. Among its biggest employers is the Iowa State Penitentiary. The prison, the state and the Department of Corrections were recently the focus of a lawsuit filed by a former guard who said she was fired for complaining about sexual harassment.
A jury recently decided that the former guard is to receive $2 million for the harassment and retaliation she endured. She worked at the prison for a dozen years, according to a news article.
The jury agreed that the prison had not only retaliated against her, but had also failed to make reasonable accommodations for a medical disability.
The jury said she is to receive $175,000 for wages she would have earned, $1.25 million for wages she would have earned in the future, and $575,000 for emotional distress.
“This has been a long battle for her and we are thrilled that this verdict gives her some justice. She’s fought long and hard,” said one of her employment law attorneys.
The former guard had previously sued the Department of Corrections. A jury ruled against her in that case. Four days after that decision was handed down, she was reassigned to oversee 73 inmates by herself.
“They put me right back into the general population knowing that the inmates were hostile to me and had made threats of rape, beating me and murder,” the former guard said in an interview.
The story of what she endured in her job is complex and more fully explained in this news article.
She fought long and hard for what was right and has been rewarded for standing up for justice.
If you have suffered sexual harassment or retaliation, contact an employment law attorney to discuss your legal options.