Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Settled With Female Prison Guard

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The Maine Human Rights Commission filed a lawsuit on behalf of Autumn Dinsmore, a female corrections officer.

The lawsuit claims that she suffered in a hostile working environment due to her sexual orientation and gender while employed at Maine State Prison and Bolduc Correctional Facility, reported Portland Press Herald.

According to Magistrate Judge J. Nivison, a settlement was reached in May by mutual consent regarding the case filed on behalf of Dinsmore in July 2021.

The lawsuit was filed after the Maine Human Rights Commission as found reasonable grounds that Maine Corrections Department had created a hostile working environment for Dinsmore.

The lawsuit described how the female officer was a recurrent recipient of unsolicited sexual approaches from male officers, including sharing photos of genitalia and stressing her to share nude pictures in response to them.

Dinsmore and other female colleagues have also heard male officers making improper remarks about female officers and conversing about who can sleep first with a new female officer.

The lawsuit stated that the male colleagues and supervisors have refused to accept her sexual orientation due to the workplace culture of treating female officers as sexual objects.

Further, the traditional belief is that actual lesbians are doubtful to exist because females are unable to resist sexual attraction to men.

Dinsmore seeks lost wages, punitive damages, and civil rights training for the next 2 years for staff.

However, the Maine Department of Corrections stated that the case was resolved, but settlement terms have not been released yet.

Further, Human Rights investigator K. T. Crossman stated that Dinsmore was subjected to remarks from male colleagues regarding their low opinion of female workers in prison from the start of her employment.

She commenced her employment at the prison in 2017 and made a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in 2019. Subsequently, she began to work at Bolduc Correctional Facility.

According to the investigator’s findings, the sex-related remarks were widespread, and it seemed that the attitudes of her colleagues led to the plaintiff being disciplined.

Moreover, the findings explained that the respondent was aware of or should have been aware of the harassment. However, no measures were taken to stop them. On the contrary, the respondent has contributed to the hostile working environment by punishing the plaintiff more severely than the male officers.

The investigator has further found that a former prisoner harassed the female corrections officer. Thus, she has accessed the prison’s computer system to obtain the prisoner’s contact information to inform him to stop stalking. However, she was suspended for two weeks with no pay due to the Department of Correction’s policy violation, according to the prison administration’s decision.

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