Private prison to pay former Arizona female employees in sexual harassment case

PHOENIX - U.S. officials say a private prison company will pay a settlement of $550,000 to be shared by 16 women dismissed from jobs at Arizona correctional facilities in 2012 after complaining of sexual harassment.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the deal Monday with the GEO Group, Inc., which operates the Central Arizona Correctional Facility and the Arizona State Prison-Florence West Facility.

The commission and the Arizona Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General's Office filed the suit alleging a variety of sexual harassment and retaliation from 2006-2012, including sexual assault by a male manager against a female officer.

The GEO Group says it took measures after the lawsuit was filed and there have been no new complaints. A company statement says it has a zero tolerance policy toward sexual harassment.

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