Justice Department Resolves Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today the filing of a consent decree, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (LDPSC) that resolves allegations of sexual harassment of an office administrator in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII).
According to the department’s complaint, Laura Arceneaux, an office administrator, was subjected to a hostile work environment during the period between May 2002 and December 2008, which culminated in two attempts of sexual assault by her supervisor, District Administrator Farrell Veillion. At least four other LDPSC employees, including a part-time internal affairs investigator, were aware of the harassment and did not report it. The complaint alleges that the LDPSC did not have an effective sexual harassment policy in place at the time of the harassment.
The consent decree, if approved by the court, requires the LDPSC to modify its policy designed to prevent harassment in the workplace and provide annual training of LDPSC supervisors and employees about harassment. The decree also awards monetary damages in the amount of $50,000 to Arceneaux as well as other relief.
“Federal law requires employers to maintain a workplace free of harassment and hostility,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “ The d epartment commends the state for agreeing to put effective policies in place to prevent workplace harassment and to provide appropriate relief to Ms. Arceneaux. ”
The filing of this lawsuit and consent decree reflects the Civil Rights Division’s ongoing commitment to actively enforce federal employment discrimination laws such as Title VII. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available at www.justice.gov/crt .