FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    CR
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 1994                                    (202) 616-2765
                                                         TDD (202) 514-1888


     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Kansas Department of Corrections has
agreed to pay over $45,000 in damages to a female employee who
allegedly was forced from her job by state correctional officials
who sexually harassed her, the Justice Department announced.
     In a complaint, filed together with the agreement, the
Justice Department alleged that a high ranking official and
another male officer of the Norton Correctional Facility
subjected Bridgitt A. Otter to inappropriate touching, crude and
lewd jokes and comments, sexual innuendoes, and numerous
propositions between 1989 and 1991.
     Although Otter allegedly reported the sexual harassment to
the warden and another prison official in April 1991, the
officials failed to thoroughly investigate the complaint or to
discipline the alleged harassers, according to the complaint. 
Only after Otter was forced to resign from her position in August
1991 due to the ongoing harassment, were the two alleged
harassers disciplined and demoted.  
     "We are committed to ensuring that the American workplace is
free of discrimination, and that all individuals are given the
opportunity to work in a respectful environment," said Assistant
Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick.  "When a
public employer allows the sexual harassment of one of its
employees or fails to act to end such harassment, the Justice
Department will take action."
     The agreement, approved yesterday by the U.S. District Court
in Topeka, requires the state to pay Otter $43,667.28 in backpay
and $3,000.00 for her private attorney's fees and to offer Otter
reinstatement to her position as a secretary, with remedial
seniority.  It also prohibits the state and the Department of
Corrections from engaging in sex discrimination and requires the
Department of Corrections to continue its annual sexual
harassment training and document all future sexual harassment
     Following her resignation, Otter informed the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that she had been
sexually harassed.  The EEOC investigated the case and concluded
there was reasonable cause to believe the state had discriminated
against her on the basis of gender in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act.  It determined that the state and the
Department of Corrections failed to take prompt and appropriate
action to end the harassment.  In November 1993, the EEOC
referred the matter to the Justice Department, which investigated
the matter further and reached a similar finding. 
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