Skip to main content


     On June 13, 2016, the United States filed a lawsuit against the State of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) (referred to as the “Defendants”), alleging that the Defendants have engaged in two unlawful employment practices that discriminated against female correctional officers (“COs”) at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (“WHV”) because of sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seqet seq.

     Specifically, in the document beginning the case, the United States alleged that Defendants had discriminated on the basis of sex in two ways:  (1) by designating four CO assignments at WHV as “female-only,” and (2) by refusing to transfer female COs from WHV to other prisons on the same transfer terms that were applied to male COs.  Defendants deny these allegations.

     On February 18, 2021, the United States and Defendants filed with the court a proposed Settlement Agreement. On June 2, 2021, the court held a Fairness Hearing to determine if the terms are lawful, fair, adequate, reasonable, and consistent with the public interest. At the Fairness Hearing, the court heard and considered objections to the terms of the Settlement Agreement. On June 3, 2021, the court issued an opinion and order approving the parties’ proposed Settlement Agreement, which settles this case.

     Under the Settlement Agreement, Defendants will pay $750,000 and implement certain other changes at WHV. Defendants will provide money and other awards to female COs harmed by the alleged discrimination. Women who have worked as COs at WHV at any time between January 1, 2009, and June 3, 2021, including the 28 women who filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“Charging Parties”), may be eligible for relief if they meet the following criteria:

  • Wanted to transfer from a CO position at WHV to a CO position at another MDOC facility but were unable to do so because of the transfer freeze
  • Were eligible to transfer; and
  • Were harmed by the inability to transfer.

Eligible female COs may receive:

  • Cash awards to make up for some of the pain and suffering and/or emotional distress allegedly suffered as a result of Defendants’ long-term transfer freeze at WHV.
  • Priority transfers out of WHV to another MDOC facility for up to 15 female COs who currently work at WHV and meet the same criteria required for all other transfer applicants.  Preference for the 15 priority transfers will be given to Charging Parties, in order of number of continuous service hours, and then to non-Charging Parties, in order of number of continuous service hours.

Also, each Charging Party is entitled to additional money, called a service award, which is based on her particular service in bringing this case.  By filing charges of discrimination with the EEOC, the Charging Parties brought this matter to the attention of the United States and led to the filing of this lawsuit.

     On December 13, 2021, the court issued an order approving the parties’ proposed Individual Awards Lists, which identify the claimants who are entitled to share in the settlement. 

Updated December 16, 2021