The Navy and a former civilian worker for a military facility in Guam have settled an employment discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed today.
The Navy’s internal investigation found that Robert Ballard’s allegations against his then co-workers were false and that no sexual harassment occurred, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in a statement today.
However, the Navy agreed to pay Ballard $37,200 to settle all of the plaintiff's remaining claims because the military has difficulty calling witnesses who may be stationed in different parts of the world, according to court documents.
Ballard worked as an electronics technician at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station from October 2011 to February 2012. He was assigned to the high frequency center and was trained by Jose Leon Guerrero, according to court documents.
Ballard claimed Leon Guerrero and others subjected him to workplace retaliation after he complained of alleged inappropriate sexual contact and alleged comments about his old age.
In March last year, District Court Chief Judge Tydingco Gatewood issued an order the Navy took immediate measures to remedy the harassment Ballard had alleged as soon as the Navy became aware of it.
But retaliation claims remained in dispute, the judge said in the decision last year.
In addition to finding no proof of discrimination, the Navy subsequently determined that Ballard's "substandard work performance warranted termination of his employment during the probationary period,” according to the U.S. Attorney's statement. Ballard worked for the Navy for about four months.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said because of the short time between Ballard's allegations against his co-workers and his dismissal by the Navy, the issue of possible retaliation remained to be resolved by a trial.
“Recognizing that trial would require the United States to bring in witness who are now serving around the world, the United States entered into a settlement agreement on Jan. 28, 2017, to resolve the one remaining retaliation claim,” according to the statement.
The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mikel Schwab.