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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging Retaliation by the Puerto Rico Police Department

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today the filing of a lawsuit against the Policía de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Police Department or PRPD) alleging the PRPD retaliated against Agent Investigator Sofía Figueroa Rossy (Figueroa) for complaining about a hostile work environment based on sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

 

According to the Justice Department’s complaint, the PRPD retaliated against Figueroa when, after she complained of sexual harassment, the PRPD failed to keep Figueroa’s complaint confidential, involuntarily transferred her out of the PRPD’s Sex Crimes Division, and failed or refused to take action on Figueroa’s appeal of the involuntary transfer.

 

“All workers have the right to go to work each day without fear of discrimination or retaliation. Public employers should set an example for others by upholding the law and taking prompt and effective action to stop discrimination and retaliation,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will vigorously pursue such violations of Title VII.”

The Justice Department is seeking an order from the court that the PRPD take remedial steps to ensure a non-retaliatory workplace for its employees; that the PRPD supplement its mandatory training for all supervisors regarding sex discrimination and retaliation under Title VII so that complaints like Figueroa’s remain confidential and do not result in retaliation; and that the PRPD provide Figueroa with make-whole remedial relief , including compensatory damages for mental and/or physical injuries caused by the PRPD’s retaliatory conduct.

The San Juan Local Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated and attempted to resolve Figueroa’s charge of discrimination before referring it to the department for litigation. More information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov

The enforcement of Title VII is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its websites at www.justice.gov/crt/ and www.justice.gov/crt/emp/

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