Prison guard settles discrimination case against Allegheny County Jail

By Jon Campisi | Nov 15, 2012

A prison guard in western Pennsylvania has settled her federal discrimination claim against the Allegheny County Jail, a docket entry in the case indicates.

Attorney Susan E. Mahood filed suit on behalf of client Florence Taylor against Allegheny County, the county jail, and prison officials back in early June of last year over claims that Taylor experienced years-long retaliation for complaining about race and sex discrimination and harassment.

The defendants had created a hostile work environment for the plaintiff dating back to about 2007, stated the lawsuit, which had been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

It was in 2007 that Taylor filed discrimination charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission based on the defendants’ “discriminatory refusal” to promote Taylor to the rank of sergeant, while promoting less qualified white males, the suit had stated.

On April 2, 2008, the EEOC effected a negotiated settlement agreement under which the county was required to promote Taylor to sergeant.

But that never occurred.

Meanwhile, the complaint alleges, the discriminatory treatment against Taylor continued.

In her 2011 complaint, Taylor sought more than $75,000 in damages.

In addition to the county and the prison, the additional defendants named in the civil action were jail warden Ramon Rustin, and prison employees Robyn McCall, James Donis and William Emerick.

In a Nov. 13 docket entry in the case, U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon wrote that the court has since been advised that the matter has been settled, and the only remaining matters to be addressed are the execution of the settlement document and the compliance of the terms set out in the settlement agreement.

“It appears that there is no further action required by the Court at this time,” Bissoon wrote.

Bissoon ordered the clerk to mark the case closed.

The exact terms of the settlement were not laid out in the docket entry.

Mahood, Taylor’s attorney, did not respond to an inquiry seeking information on the terms of the settlement.

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