correctional facility

DOJ Sues Michigan Department of Corrections over Female Officer Discrimination

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan and its Department of Corrections (MDOC) for discriminating against female correctional officers.

The complaint claims the state and its department are in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin and religion

Allegedly, “Michigan and MDOC discriminated against female employees assigned to MDOC’s Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (Huron Valley) by implementing an overly broad female-only assignment policy and by unnecessarily denying requests by female employees for transfers, in violation of Title VII,” according to a statement from the DOJ.

“Employers may not unduly lock workers into or out of a job because of their sex,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “Qualified male and female correctional officers deserve equal opportunities to compete for job assignments and transfers without unnecessary barriers.”

DOJ claimed MDOC discriminated against female officers on the basis of sex at the only prison for female inmates in the state of Michigan, in addition to denying female officers’ transfer requests to other facilities, but granting the transfer requests of male correctional officers. Female officers were also allegedly required to work excessive overtime hours at the expense of their personal health, according to charges filed by 28 female correctional officers with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The EEOC’s Detroit Field Office investigated the charges and found “reasonable cause” to believe that MDOC discriminated against these and other female correctional officers at Huron Valley on the basis of sex.

After unsuccessful settlement negotiations, the EEOC referred the charges to Justice officials.

In addition to compensatory damages for the female correctional officers, the lawsuit seeks court orders requiring the state and MDOC to stop discriminatory job assignment and transfer policies at Huron Valley, and orders requiring MDOC to develop and implement measures to prevent further discrimination.

Posted in General News


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