FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1995                           (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C. --  An Illinois County Sheriff's Department
that allegedly allowed female jailers to be sexually harassed and
refused to hire female patrol officers for 17 years agreed today to
stop the harassment and pay more than $400,000 in damages to
victims of the discrimination, the Justice Department announced.
     Today's agreement resolves a Justice Department suit filed in
March 1994 alleging that the McHenry County Sheriff's Department
discriminated against women in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964.
     The suit claimed that female correction officers at the
McHenry County Correctional Center in Woodstock were subjected to
explicit and vulgar language, crude drawings, and unwelcome
physical conduct of a sexual nature.  It claimed that these acts
created a sexually hostile work environment.
     The suit also alleged that female applicants for entry-level
patrol officer positions were denied jobs because of their sex and
that persons who complained about the sexual harassment and
discrimination were subjected to retaliation.
     "Today's agreement remedies past discrimination and prevents
it from recurring," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil
Rights Deval L. Patrick.  "Our law enforcement agencies are no
place for discrimination or sexual harassment."
     Under the settlement, filed today in the U.S. District Court
in Rockford, the county will:
    not discriminate against females working in the Sheriff's
     Department or seeking jobs there;

    not retaliate against individuals who complain about sexual

    hire an equal employment opportunity officer and train its
     employees on sexual harassment;

    promptly investigate internal complaints of sexual harassment
     and retaliation;

    establish a $440,000 back pay fund to compensate women
     identified as victims of the discriminatory practices and
     provide them with offers of employment as patrol officers as
     well as retroactive seniority and retirement benefits; and

    make good faith efforts to recruit and employ female patrol
     officers in numbers that reflect their availability in the
     labor market.

     Patrick noted that more than 70 patrol officers were hired in
the Sheriff's Department during the 17 years prior to the filing of
the suit, but that all of them were male.
     "This settlement represents a victory for women who desire to
pursue careers in law enforcement," said James B. Burns, U.S.
Attorney in Chicago. "Male locker room conduct is passe, and we are
sending a message that we intend to make it extinct."
     Next Friday, Magistrate P. Michael Mahoney will decide whether
to conditionally approve the agreement.  He will then schedule a
hearing to allow individuals in the community to comment before
deciding whether to give final approval to the agreement.
     "We are pleased that the county decided to do the right thing
in this case," added Patrick.
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