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Throwing money at sexual harassment claims is not enough

Corrections officers across the country, including those here in Texas, have a difficult job. The last thing they need is to deal with sexual harassment from other officers and supervisors. Unfortunately, it is prevalent in many prisons, and one state's legislature recently blasted its department of corrections for allowing the behavior to continue.

During the first half of 2016, approximately $4 million was paid to corrections officers who suffered sexual harassment at work. The state's lawmakers accuse its DOC of failing to address the root of the problem and instead simply throwing money at it. In addition, the women who came forward about the harassment suffered retaliation as well.

The atmosphere within the Missouri Department of Corrections was called "dysfunctional," and changes need to be made. The former head of that state's DOC resigned. His successor pledges to institute a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment.

Corrections is not the only industry in which sexual harassment occurs. Nearly every industry is plagued by it. Even in a time in this country's history when diversity, equality and tolerance are the hallmarks of society, it continues. Women might be the lion's share of its victims, but men are sexually harassed as well.

Texas workers whose work environments are marred by sexual harassment should know their rights. Every employee has the right to work in an environment free from hostility, retaliation and discrimination, in addition to harassment of any kind. No one suffering from any of these illegal behaviors has to tolerate them. Knowing what rights workers have -- along with their legal options -- often helps to alleviate some of the stress associated with this treatment.

Source:, "Amid sexual harassment scandal, Missouri prisons deemed 'dysfunctional'", Kurt Erickson, Feb. 16, 2017

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