FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 1995

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

PHOENIX EMPLOYEES ACCUSED OF PERMITTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT TO UNDERGO TRAINING UNDER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AGREEMENT WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Phoenix Department of Aviation, which was sued for allowing its only female employee to be sexually harassed, will train its supervisors on sexual harassment under an agreement reached today between the Justice Department and the city. Last December, the Justice Department sued the city after Vicki L. Nichols, an air conditioning mechanic employed by the city, complained that her colleagues had drawn sexually explicit pictures in the workplace and etched her name beneath them. The federal suit alleged that the city discriminated against Nichols by subjecting her to sexual harassment. In announcing today's settlement, Deval L. Patrick, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, said that the city has agreed to: ​ hire a consultant to train all supervisory personnel in the Aviation Department about sex discrimination and sexual harassment; ​ invite employees from each division of the Aviation Department to meetings on issues affecting women in the department and after assessing the workplace, recommend any changes affecting the working conditions of women; and, ​ report any complaints of sex discrimination and sexual harassment to the Justice Department for the two years that the agreement remains in effect. Ms. Nichols today reached a separate agreement with the City of Phoenix. "The agreement will help to educate employers and sensitize supervisors to the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace," added Patrick. The suit settled today stemmed from a complaint filed by Nichols with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In her complaint, Nichols claimed that she had discovered sexual drawings and obscenities with her name and initials engraved into the lead covering of two air conditioning units in a terminal of the Sky Harbor airport where she worked. Nichols also claimed that when she reported the incident to her supervisors they not only failed to remove the drawings but inappropriately notified the otherwise all-male crew about how the drawings had upset her and where they were located. The EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that the city had discriminated against her and referred the case to the Justice

Department. After the Justice Department confirmed the EEOC's findings and when pre-suit efforts to resolve the matter through a consent decree failed, the Justice Department sued. "The case shows that the Justice Department will act swiftly against sexual harassment," said Janet Napolitano, U.S. Attorney in Phoenix. "The agreement will substantially reduce the likelihood that such harassment will recur in the City of Phoenix Aviation Department." Today's agreement, which must still be approved by the court, was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. # # # 95-443