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Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Former U-M police officer sues university for gender discrimination

By Lee Higgins

A former University of Michigan police officer alleges in a lawsuit that the university discriminated against him because of his gender after he suffered an injury on duty that limited his mobility.

Brian Daniels, who currently works as a parking enforcement officer at U-M, is suing the university, alleging violations of his civil rights. The suit was filed Monday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court and seeks an unspecified amount of money.

University officials had no immediate comment Tuesday.

According to the suit, Daniels was working as a sworn police officer and was forced to take a non-sworn position as a parking enforcement officer in 2009 after he injured his right knee and "could not walk without a limp."

The suit alleges that Daniels' pay in his new position was reduced $32,000, which would not have happened if "he had been female."

The suit claims similarly situated female employees were treated more favorably, including by former police chief Ken Magee, who is not a defendant.

“Plaintiff’s gender was one factor that made a difference in defendant's decision to deny him light duty assignments, and reduce his pay through a forced transfer to a (lower paying) civilian job,” the suit says.

According to the suit, Daniels began working for the department in 1993 and injured his knee while on assignment with a police dog April 18, 2008.

The university requested an independent medical evaluation that concluded Daniels couldn't return to full duty, the suit says. The suit alleges that the university told Daniels he could find another job, take a $20,000 to $30,000 pay cut and remain an employee or accept a civilian position. In September 2009, he started working as a parking enforcement officer.

The suit cites three examples in which it claims that similarly situated female employees were treated more favorably.

Prior to Magee's hiring, a female officer was injured on the job and was given a light duty assignment and promoted to sergeant without a pay cut, the suit claims.

When Magee took over, he "had a strong bias in favor of younger, attractive female officers," the suit claims. It alleges that when an administrative position opened, Magee passed over Daniels in favor of a female officer. The suit also says that Magee put another female officer who couldn't pass field training into a non-sworn dispatcher position without reducing her pay.

Magee, who resigned this year after an extended period of sick leave, could not be reached for comment.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at


Joe Kidd

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

I do not understand why an officer with a knee injury cannot be a police officer yet can be a parking enforcement officer. Parking enforcement requires much more walking than police work where you spend most of your time on your behind in a patrol car. Running after criminals is a non excuse. Many officers are obese and can't run and officers carry anywhere between 20 and 30 pounds of equipment so nobody is going to run very far anyway. Regardless of his job, they can afford to pay his salary at UMPD. If they can't they need to lower the pay of their over paid chief and dep chiefs - all of whom spend all their time on their behinds and certainly don't have to worry about getting injured.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

It's simple - the job has formal physical requirements. Those requirements are printed and you could probably find them online if you bothered to look. The doctor, or physical workplace expert, who evaluated him determined he did not meet the requirements. I don't know how often the officers must re-qualify, but know they must. Your comments on obese officers being unable to meet requirements is just your opinion, and it is just a stereotype. It has no basis in fact. Or can you cite a credible source to support your claim?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

Endless fun, of course, to speculate -- but since the facts are unknown and the story one-sided, it's all just hot air.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

What's really crazy is the notion that someone who can no longer do the job should be PROMOTED to Sergeant (regardless of gender). How insulting to those who work hard for many years, hoping to get promoted based on *performance* and ability, rather than injury. How often has that happened in the department?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

@Duane, oh please. One instance of possible discrimination against a male throws all the discrimination women *still* face out the window?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

Thanks for that info with no citations or data to back it up! I guess I'll just believe some random anonymous dude on the Internet. Oh wait, here's some real info. I guess it does exist: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 7:05 p.m.

Women may still face discrimination in many occupations but law enforcement is not one of them. Standards for physical fitness tests for females are far less, not only to get into a police academy but also to graduate. Female officers are often promoted at a higher rate then their male counterparts, regardless of training, education and performance.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

It seems for many in the private sector we just file a worker comp claim and hope for the best. If we can't return to our former position eventually the workers comp insurer expects you to look for another job in another field if your injury precludes you from performing in your previous field. Having said that we should all expect equal treatment with respect to gender among other things.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

I'd be interested to know what type of injury the female officer suffered. Was it as debilitating as the one experienced by Mr. Daniels? Also, was the light duty assignment temporary or is she still performing those duties? Lots of variables here to consider.

Duane Collicott

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 11:21 a.m.

Well, there goes the theory of male privilege.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

Yes, I'm sure that never happens.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.

Only in police work do people who find themselves no longer able to do the job they were hired for expect to be paid the same wage for the rest of their career like nothing ever happened. Still, if what he alleges is true than this discrimination is wrong and should be remedied.

Ron Granger

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Both of you describe a fantasy land quite different from the real world where most of us work; the fantasy land of government employment, especially police departments. Michigan, like most states, is an at-will employment state. If you can't do the job, regardless of where you received the injury, you're done. They don't have to pay you the same wage when you can't do the job. It does not matter where you received the injury. You may get workers comp, you may get disability. But you do not have a right to keep your job, or to have some &quot;special&quot; position created. Even with a workers comp award, you may fight for *years* to get a court ordered settlement from the workers comp insurance company (even in cases of only a few thousand dollars). And it is one thing to have a court ordered settlement, and another to actually get a check. I have a relative in that very situation. She's still on the job after knee surgery (she had to take about a month off). But if her on the job knee injury prevented her from doing her sometimes physical job, she would be terminated. That is after 25 years of work for the same company. *THAT* is the real world. And on top of all that, the workers comp insurance company is dragging their feet on writing the check the court ordered over a year ago. What's really crazy is the notion that someone who can no longer do the job should be PROMOTED to Sergeant. How insulting to the police officers who work hard for many years, hoping to get promoted based on *performance* and ability, rather than injury.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

If its a work related injury, the officer should be treated fairly and offered reasonable accommodation without having to absorb life altering wage changes for life due to on the job injuries


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3 a.m.

Only in EVERY profession do people sue when they get hurt and unable to perform their job description, while working for said employer and doing what their job description entails. I can totally understand though Ron how you I am sure would be more than happy taking a demotion and pay cut and forced to do a job that is totally not what you signed up for because that's what your employer feels is appropriate even though there are positions that are still commensurate to your skills and new work induced handicap.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

And this, boys and girls, is what we call the can of worms. It will certainly be interesting to see what follows.