The U.S. Department of Justice has brought a sex-based discrimination claim against the State of Michigan and its Department of Corrections (MDOC) after 28 female corrections officers complained they were treated unfairly due to their gender in violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The officers were employed at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. Huron Valley and other female prisons were brought under the spotlight in 2008 after prisoners filed suits alleging they were sexually abused by correction officers. In response to the civil and criminal lawsuits, the MDOC changed its policies, including a requirement that only female correction officers could work in the prison housing units. As a result, female correction officers have been denied transfers and are forced to work overtime unlike their male counterparts.
Approximately 17% of Michigan’s 7,300 correctional officers are female but at Huron Valley, 85% of the facility’s employees are female. These employees are limited in job placement opportunities, which they claim denies them of the ability to work in facilities closer to their homes and restricts opportunities to gain additional work experience and work in more favorable institutions.
When employers illegally discriminate against women in the workplace, they’re breaking state and federal civil rights and labor laws. If you suspect that your employer is discriminating based upon your sex, please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Employment Litigation Group to discuss your concerns.