Former U-M police officer sues university for gender discrimination
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 AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.