The sexual harassment case of Ms. Erma Rodriguez, an Illinois correctional employee, demonstrates that the management failed in its duty to protect its employee’s rights. The management failed to create a good working environment that valued gender diversity and employee’s rights. Such rights in the workplace are often protected through the establishment of comprehensive workplace policies, for instance, that prohibiting sexual harassment. A similar sexual harassment also occurred in Rensselaer County jail, where Ms. Lora Abbot Seabury, a former female sergeant at the facility was sexually abused by her male coworkers between 2005 and 2010 (Lyons, 2013). She was previously afraid of reporting the abuse, as she was afraid of how other correctional officers will react about it since the working environment was characterized by hostility, bullying, and intimidation amongst employees. She only reported the abuse to the facility’s administration when it had intensified. She filed a lawsuit in which the court established that the facility’s management failed in its duty to protect Seabury, by maliciously failing to take appropriate action to safeguard her rights. The court directed Rensselaer County to pay Seabury $ 2 million in a lawsuit settlement.
The correctional facilities’ management authorities would have avoided such lawsuits if they had established and adopted a comprehensive and clearly understood sexual harassment policy that strictly prohibits sexual harassment in their working environments (Orlov & Roumell, 2005, p. 45-46). Apart from prohibiting the abuse, such policies usually inform employees that the misconduct is a criminal offense that is severely punishable. It defines the abuse as it relates to that specific working environment, and provides examples of behaviors that constitute sexual harassment, which employees must avoid (Orlov & Roumell, 2005, p. 47). Finally, it stipulates the procedures of reporting such abuses, and guarantees victims of alleged abuse protection against any vengeful acts after reporting the abuse.
Lyons, B.J. (2013, Apr 30). Harassed jail officer wins $2m judgment.
Orlov, D., & Roumell, M. T. (2005). What every manager needs to know about sexual harassment. New York: AMACOM Division of American Management Association.