In The United States District Court For The District Of Maryland

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff,

v.

Civil Action No.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY FIRE
DEPARTMENT; PRINCE GEORGE'S
COUNTY, MARYLAND; PRINCE GEORGE'S
COUNTY COUNCIL; PRINCE GEORGE'S
COUNTY FIRE COMMISSION; AND
WAYNE K. CURRY, IN HIS OFFICIAL
CAPACITY AS COUNTY EXECUTIVE
OF PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY,
MARYLAND

Defendants.





COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL



Plaintiff, United States of America, alleges:

1. This action is brought on behalf of the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII").

2. This Court has jurisdiction over the action under 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-5(f) and 28 U.S.C. Section 1345.

3. Defendant Prince George's County Fire Department is an agency of Prince George's County Maryland, a body corporate and politic which is a political subdivision of the State of Maryland created pursuant to Maryland law.

4. Defendant Prince George's County Fire Department is a person within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e(a), and an employer within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e(b).

5. Defendant Prince George's County, Maryland is a political subdivision of the State of Maryland created pursuant to Maryland law. Defendant Prince George's County, Maryland is a person within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e(a), and an employer within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e(b).

6. Defendant Prince George's County Council is a political subdivision of Prince George's County, Maryland, and is vested with legislative powers over the County. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19, the County Council is joined as a party whose presence in this action may be necessary to provide complete relief.

7. Defendant Prince George's County Fire Commission is a nine-member body comprised of nine persons elected by the volunteer fire companies of Prince George's County, and was created pursuant to the charter, laws and regulations of Prince George's County. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19, the Fire Commission is joined as a party whose presence in this action may be necessary to afford complete relief.

8. Defendant Wayne K. Curry is the County Executive for Prince George's County, Maryland. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19, Mr. Curry is joined as a party, in his official capacity, whose presence in this action may be necessary to afford complete relief.

9. Defendants Prince George's County Fire Department and Prince George's County have discriminated against Sharon Flory, a female formerly employed as a Fire Technician in the Fire Department, because of her sex, female, in violation of Section 703(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-2(a), among other ways, by:

a. subjecting Ms. Flory to harassment based on her sex while she was employed in the Fire Department, which created an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment and which adversely affected the terms, conditions and privileges of Ms. Flory's employment;

b. failing or refusing to take appropriate action to remedy the effects of the discrimination against Ms. Flory.

10. Defendants Prince George's County Fire Department and Prince George's County have retaliated against Sharon Flory, based on her complaint of discrimination and her opposition to employment practices by the Fire Department that she reasonably believed to be unlawful, in violation of Section 704 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-3(a), among other ways, by:

a. imposing an operational suspension on Ms. Flory;

b. transferring Ms. Flory to a less desirable assignment that resulted in a loss of pay; and

c. issuing a "Step II" disciplinary "Letter of Unsatisfactory Performance" to Ms. Flory.

11. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") received a timely charge filed by Ms. Flory (Charge No. 120-98-1146) in which she alleged, inter alia, that the Prince George's County Fire Department discriminated against her in violation of Title VII by subjecting her to a hostile environment based on her sex and retaliating against her based on her complaints about the hostile environment.

12. Pursuant to Section 706 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-5, the EEOC investigated the charge, found reasonable cause to believe that Ms. Flory's allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation were true, unsuccessfully attempted to achieve through conciliation a voluntary resolution of these matters, and subsequently referred the charge to the Department of Justice. 13. All conditions precedent to the filing of suit have been performed or have occurred.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff United States prays that this Court grant the following relief:

(a) Enjoin the Prince George's County Fire Department and Prince George's County from failing or refusing to:

(i) provide sufficient remedial relief to make whole Sharon Flory for the loss she has suffered as a result of the discrimination against her as alleged in this complaint;

(ii) adopt a clear, meaningful, and well- publicized written policy prohibiting sexual harassment and retaliation against any Fire Department employee or volunteer, which includes provisions describing responsibilities of all supervisors to report and respond to complaints of sexual harassment and which establishes an effective mechanism for receiving and responding to complaints of sexual harassment;

(iii)modify its existing sexual harassment policy to include clear, meaningful and well-publicized provisions describing responsibilities of all supervisors to report and respond to complaints of sexual harassment, and to establish an effective mechanism for receiving and responding to complaints of sexual harassment;

(iv) provide adequate training to all Fire Department employees and volunteers, and to all Fire Department officials responsible for making determinations regarding complaints of sexual harassment, with regard to workplace sexual harassment and retaliation prohibited by Title VII.

(v) modify any existing policies requiring transfers of employees who complain about sexual harassment;

(vi) take any and all appropriate actions to discipline persons who are authorized to volunteer in fire stations located within Prince George's County and create a hostile environment based on sex, or retaliate against, employees in the Fire Department, up to and including removing volunteers from operational status, revoking the volunteer status of such persons, and barring such persons from the premises of fire stations located within Prince George's County;

(vii)take other appropriate nondiscriminatory measures to overcome the effects of the discrimination.

(b) Award compensatory damages to Ms. Flory for mental and/or physical injuries incurred as a result of the discrimination against her as alleged in this complaint, pursuant to and within the statutory limitations of Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. Section 1981a.

The plaintiff prays for such additional relief as justice may require, together with its costs and disbursements in this action.

JURY DEMAND

The United States hereby demands a trial by jury of all issues so triable pursuant to Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. Section 1981a.

JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General



By:

RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice

WILLIAM B. FENTON
D.C. Bar Registration No. 414990

JODI B. DANIS (Trial Attorney)
D.C. Bar Registration No. 453493Attorneys
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65968
Washington, D.C. 20035-5968



United States Attorney
Civil Chief
District of Maryland

Updated August 6, 2015

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