When you think about workplace discrimination, you might immediately think of people of different races or people who look different being treated badly just because of who they are. You may not think immediately of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) community or the impact that discrimination can still have on them today.
Unfortunately, one gay couple in Michigan has turned to the law to sue the Michigan Department of Corrections over retaliation and discrimination that they say they faced on the job.
One of the women, 52, has been working for the Michigan Department of Corrections for 26 years. The other, 53, transferred to the facility in 2015. Both have claimed that they were harassed and discriminated against due to their sexual orientations.
The harassment wasn’t just verbal, one woman recalled. She claims that co-workers would change her screensaver any time she left her computer. The small things added up over time, making it impossible to continue to work. She took three months off work for stress in 2018 after being allegedly stalked by a male colleague. She then took early retirement before filing a lawsuit.
Though she did report the incident to the warden, she claims that they did not get involved. When the harassment was taken further to the Michigan Department of Corrections, she claims that only retaliation resulted. She was written up for minor infractions and even investigated for an alleged relationship with one of the prisoners, a male, despite knowing that she was a lesbian.
The woman’s partner also suffered, it’s claimed, because as soon as the other woman complained, she was moved to the graveyard shift. Now, the Michigan Department of Corrections potentially faces six charges for the alleged mistreatment of the couple.
If you feel that you have been discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, an attorney can help you learn more about your legal options.