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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CRT

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2007 (202) 514-2007


WWW.USDOJ.GOV TDD (202) 514-1888

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit


Alleging Employment Discrimination
and Retaliation
by The Municipio De Vega Alta, Puerto
Rico
WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice today announced that it has reached
a settlement agreement with Municipio de Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, to resolve
allegations that the municipality engaged in unlawful employment discrimination
based on sex and retaliated against an officer who cooperated in the related federal
investigation.

The Department’s complaint, filed March 21, 2006, in U.S. District Court for the
District of Puerto Rico, alleged that the municipality violated Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act by discriminating against three female police officers and by retaliating
against a male officer who cooperated with a federal investigation. Specifically, the
suit alleged that the municipality excluded female police officers Laura Molina
Rodríguez, Iris Bidot Figueroa, and Madeleine García González from supervisory
duties, regular shift work, driving patrol cars, and conducting investigations because
of their gender. The complaint also alleged that the municipality retaliated against
former officer Rafael Miranda Vázquez for participating in the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission’s investigation of the charges of gender discrimination
filed by female officer García González. On July 19, 2006, the four officers filed an
intervenors’ complaint pursuant to Title VII and Puerto Rico anti-discrimination
statutes.

The consent decree, approved today by U. S. District Court Judge Juan M. Pérez
Giménez of the District of Puerto Rico, resolves the allegations of the lawsuit.
Under the terms of the agreement, the municipality will offer monetary awards
totaling $225,000, including attorney’s fees, to the four officers/intervenor plaintiffs.
The municipality will also provide training on equal employment opportunity law,
including discrimination based on gender and retaliation, to all supervisors in its
police department.
“We are pleased that the municipality has agreed to resolve this case by entering
into an appropriate consent decree,” said Rena J. Comisac, Acting Assistant
Attorney General for Civil Rights. “Women are entitled to equal employment
opportunities, and may not be excluded from certain duties and assignments simply
because the employer believes they are not the kind of work that should be
performed by a woman. Nor can a public employer retaliate against employees
because they participate in a federal investigation.”

The continued enforcement of Title VII has been a priority of the Justice
Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights
Division of the Justice Department is available on its Web site at
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/.

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