The Department of Justice announced today that the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico has approved the department’s consent decree with the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) that resolved allegations that the PRPD discriminated against Yolanda Carrasquillo on the basis of race, color and religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The department’s complaint in this action, filed on July 22, 2013, alleged that Carrasquillo, a sworn police officer, was subjected to a hostile work environment because of the discriminatory actions of a civilian co-worker. This co-worker regularly directed racial and other offensive slurs at Carrasquillo and other black or dark-skinned employees, and disparaged Carrasquillo’s Christian faith. According to the complaint, PRPD failed to take any meaningful steps to stop the harassment or discipline the harasser. The department’s complaint was based on a charge filed by Carrasquillo with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigated the matter, determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination had occurred and referred the matter to the department.
This consent decree resolves the individual charge of employment discrimination against the PRPD. Under the terms of the decree, the PRPD will provide Carrasquillo with $60,000 in monetary relief and credit her with 30 days of annual leave.
The consent decree also requires the PRPD to revise its anti-discrimination employment policies and train its employees within the framework of its existing July 17, 2013, comprehensive systemic reform agreement with the department.
“This settlement agreement is yet another step towards the fulfillment of the necessary reforms in the Puerto Rico Police Department that will ensure that the PRPD will have appropriate procedures in place to protect the rights of its employees, ” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “Through this consent decree, the Department of Justice continues to protect the rights of all workers to a workplace free from the fear of harassment because of their race, color or religion.”