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Former CO settles sex discrimination lawsuit against DOC

Ashley Menchaca alleged harassment, unfair treatment because of her sexual orientation

By Corrections1 Staff

WHITMORE LAKE, Mich. — A former Michigan corrections officer has settled a sex discrimination lawsuit against the state department of corrections that claims she was unfairly treated because of her sexual orientation.

Metro Weekly reports Ashley Menchaca, a former employee at the Woodland Center Correctional Facility in Whitmore Lake, claims a captain who made derogatory comments about LBGTQ people replaced the cushioned chair used by officers assigned to the gate with a hard stool, but only when Menchaca was on duty. Menchaca further claimed that being assigned to the gate is considered a punishment in the correctional system and that it was retaliation for reporting harassment.

The MDOC settled with Menchaca for $135,000, Metro Weekly reports. Andrew Laurila, Menchaca’s attorney, told Metro Weekly the small amount of the settlement was due to the difficulty in proving “constructive dismissal” when an employee resigns because of harassment, discrimination or retaliation instead of being fired.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokesperson for the Michigan Attorney General’s office, told Metro Weekly the state does not condone the behavior alleged in Menchaca’s suit.

“Both this department and the MDOC denounce discrimination,” she added.

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