University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States of America v. Prince George's County, Maryland EE-MD-0134
Docket / Court 8:02-cv-03563-DKC ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On the October 30, 2002, the United States filed a lawsuit under Title VII against Prince Georges County in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, alleging that the County's Fire Department discriminated against an employee on the basis of her sex. Specifically, the United States contended that this ... read more >
On the October 30, 2002, the United States filed a lawsuit under Title VII against Prince Georges County in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, alleging that the County's Fire Department discriminated against an employee on the basis of her sex. Specifically, the United States contended that this female employee was subject to subject to harassment. Furthermore, the United States alleged that Prince Georges County retaliated against this employee because she complained to officials in the County Fire Department. The defendant imposed an operational suspension on her, transferred her to a less desirable assignment resulting in a loss of pay, and issued a disciplinary letter of unsatisfactory performance. The United States sought remedial and injunctive relief.

The EEOC investigated the charge, found reasonable cause to believe that the allegation of national origin discrimination was true, attempted unsuccessfully to achieve through conciliation a voluntary resolution of the charge and subsequently referred the matter to the Department of Justice.

On October 23, 2003 the United States and the defendant agreed to enter a consent decree, which was entered by the district court (Judge Deborah Chasanow). The County offered the female employee a monetary award, retirement badge and certificate, and expunged the notice of operational suspension and the disciplinary letter from her personnel files. In order to accept this relief, the female employee had to execute a release. The consent decree also provided that the County will provide mandatory training regarding sexual harassment and retaliation for all non-supervisory Fire Department employees and supervisory training for all County supervisors. The County also must amend the job description of all supervisors to include a duty to know and enforce the law regarding sexual harassment and retaliation. The County further must appoint a Fire Department EEO officer that will be capable of receiving complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation from Fire Department employees. Finally, the County will use all lawful means available to ensure that there will be no displays or presentation of pornographic material including videos, television, computer-generated displays and pictures, in all fire stations where employees would spend time.

The consent decree is expired and the case is closed.

Dana Schwarz - 10/30/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Fire
Discrimination-area
Demotion
Discipline
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Prince Georges County
Plaintiff Description U.S. on behalf of fire department employees
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2003 - 2006
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope
Institute for Women's Policy Research
Written: Mar. 01, 2011
By: Ariane Hegewisch, Cynthia Deitch, Evelyn Murphy (Institute for Women's Policy Research & The Wage Project)
Citation: (Institute for Women's Policy Research, March 2011)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
8:02-cv-03563 (D. Md.) 10/24/2005
EE-MD-0134-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Demand For Jury Trial 10/30/2002
EE-MD-0134-0001.pdf | Detail
Consent Decree 10/23/2003
EE-MD-0134-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Chasanow, Deborah K. (D. Md.) [Magistrate]
EE-MD-0134-0002 | EE-MD-0134-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0134-0002
Danis, Jodi B (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0134-0002 | EE-MD-0134-9000
Dibiagio, Thomas M. (Maryland)
EE-MD-0134-0001 | EE-MD-0134-9000
Ehrlich, Anat (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0134-0002 | EE-MD-0134-9000
Fenton, William B. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0134-0001 | EE-MD-0134-0002
Huesman, Jennifer Lilore (New Jersey)
EE-MD-0134-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Mellin, Robert James (Maryland)
EE-MD-0134-9000
Other Lawyers Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0134-0001

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