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Jail Gaurd Harassed

Yakima, WA: (Mar-05-08) Blanca Nunez Osorio, a former jail guard, brought charges against Yakima County, WA alleging that she was fired for complaining about sexual harassment. The suit stated that Osorio was fired by the county Corrections Department in 2003, one day before her year long probationary employment period ended, despite the fact that she had received good performance reviews. Records confirmed that she had filed a complaint over sexually suggestive comments from male co-workers one month prior to her firing.

In her suit, Osorio maintains that she was fired as retaliation for that complaint. An investigation into her claim led to the firing of one corrections officer plus suspensions for two other officers and a sergeant, according to the county's response to Osorio's lawsuit. But that investigation also turned up problems with Osorio's performance, such as using cell phones for non work matters and failure to attend to duty. Though the lawsuit asked for lost wages, payment for emotional distress and attorney fees, it did not specify a monetary amount. The claim Osorio filed with the county as a preface to her lawsuit, however, asked for $519,000.

Sources on both sides stated that a settlement had been reached, in which Yakima County agreed to pay Osorio $200,000 to resolve the retaliation and wrongful termination allegations. The settlement approved by county commissioners in the morning and formalized with a check by the afternoon, resolves a four-year-old claim by Osorio. Both sides expressed relief at avoiding a jury trial. [YAKIMA HERALD REPUBLIC: COUNTY REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH FIRED GAURD]


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Published on Mar-6-08


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