The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

July 15, 2009

Ex-deputy alleges racial discrimination, sexual harassment

By Jeff Lehr

A former deputy is suing the sheriff of Jasper County and other members of his department, claiming she was called “Brownie” and “Gomey” in reference to her Hispanic lineage.

She also alleges she was sexually harassed by supervisors and co-workers during her 19 months on the job.

The lawsuit was filed in Greene County Circuit Court on behalf of June Castillo, 29, who currently resides in Illinois, but worked at the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department from January 2006 through July 2007.

The lawsuit alleges not only racial discrimination and sexual harassment but also invasion of privacy and retaliation on the part of higher-ups in the Sheriff’s Department. Castillo claims she was wrongfully fired July 31, 2007, for keeping a doctor’s appointment related to a worker’s compensation claim she filed.

The racial-discrimination portion of the suit states that co-workers referred to her as “Hernandez” as well as “Gomey” and “Brownie,” and asked her “how long it took her to swim to the States.” When an interpreter was needed by officers, she was asked if she could get “a Gomey or a Spic,” the lawsuit alleges. The racial slurs and insults were made in the presence of supervisors who took no steps to deter them, the lawsuit maintains.

During the course of her employment with the Sheriff’s Department, Castillo underwent cosmetic surgery to have her breasts augmented, the lawsuit states.

Following the procedure, she allegedly faced sexual harassment from male co-workers and supervisors, one of whom told her he liked them and asked if she needed a larger bulletproof vest. The lawsuit states that another supervisor asked her if they were soft and advised her to be cautious since their size might cause her to fall. A third allegedly stated that he wished to feel them.

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Carthage, Jasper County

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