Washington Department of Corrections Pays $282,500 to MHB Client for Sexual Harassment
On May 28, 2020, a stipulated judgment of $282,500 was entered against the Washington Department of Corrections in favor of MHB client Shayna Murphy, a corrections officer at the Monroe Correctional Complex who endured severe sexual harassment by a coworker.
In January 2017, Ms. Murphy was assigned to transport a prisoner with a fellow corrections officer, Anthony Williams. As Ms. Murphy was driving the transport vehicle to return to the Monroe facility, Williams suddenly exposed himself and masturbated while staring at Ms. Murphy. Public records requests and discovery in Ms. Murphy's civil suit revealed that Williams had a long history of sexually harassing women and girls. He had left two previous jobs with area school districts after numerous reports of inappropriate conduct with female students, and multiple female employees at the Washington Department of Corrections had reported harassment by him in the months leading up to his behavior in front of Ms. Murphy. Despite extensive notice of both reports of harassment and Williams' dishonesty in his application for employment, DOC kept Williams employed and took no meaningful steps to remedy or prevent his actions.
Employers have a responsibility under the Washington Law Against Discrimination to protect their employees by taking prompt and adequate corrective action in response to reports of sexual harassment. When they fail to do so, they are responsible for further harm caused by their employees.
Ms. Murphy was represented by MHB attorneys Tiffany Cartwright, Katherine Chamberlain, and Mika Rothman.