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Sterling Employment Law

State accused of destroying evidence in discrimination case

A lawsuit filed against the Michigan Department of Corrections for discrimination against female correctional officers has been ongoing since June 2016. At least that is when the initial complaint was filed.

Now the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed sanctions against the corrections department because they claim that the State destroyed records that were critical for the prosecution. A Dec. 13 motion stated that they "failed to preserve the documents 'after they had received notice of anticipated litigation.'"

The missing records were post orders from 2009 to 2014. The DOJ believes those post orders would reveal that the department had a "broad female-only assignment policy that locked women into specific jobs." According to the original complaint, the corrections department forced women to work excessive overtime hours and denied requests for transfer into other positions.

Sanctions requested by the DOJ is for the court to assume the missing post orders would have supported their allegations by inclusions of mandatory requests through "adverse inferences" and "preclusive instructions." Allegedly, those records would include inferences that women were predominantly placed in food service jobs, yard work or property room and electronic monitoring assignments.

Discrimination laws in Michigan are fully enforceable; discrimination should not be allowed to take place in any workplace. You cannot be discriminated against based on your age, race, sex, gender, religion or pregnancy. Many people are afraid to come forward when they feel they have been discriminated against. But that is the only way to stop this kind of behavior. Seek legal counsel.

Source: Detroit News, "Feds: State destroyed evidence in women’s prison suit," Jonathan Oosting, Dec. 19, 2017

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