An Ohio jail administrator filed a lawsuit yesterday, claiming she was fired because men in her department didn’t like working for a lesbian or being questioned about their use of force with inmates.
Charmaine McGuffey, former major of jail services at the Hamilton County Jail, has slapped the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office with a lawsuit alleging sex discrimination and retaliation.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that the jail fired McGuffey last June after a biased investigation into complaints that she created a hostile work environment.
“She specifically complained that her subordinate male supervisors were often disrespectful towards Plaintiff,” the suit states, noting that she appealed to Sheriff Jim Neil for support.
“In response to Plaintiff’s complaints, Sheriff Neil told Plaintiff that those supervisors, and some other men in the department, just ‘don’t like working for a woman,’” the suit states.
David Daughterty, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The lawsuit alleges that department discouraged McGuffy from allowing the Cincinnati Enquirer to publish a piece on her wedding to her female partner “because it could be ‘used against her.’”
McGuffey was berated in front of male coworkers and excluded from staff meetings, undermined in her role as a supervisor and treated less favorably than men at the jail, she alleges.
McGuffey’s complaint details a laundry list of accomplishments leading up to her demotion and departure. She started work at the jail in 1983 and was repeatedly promoted, always earning high reviews in her 33 years on the job. She was the first and only woman to become a Major in the department.
Under her watch, the jail went from failing nearly all of the minimum state inspection standards to meeting them in three years. She was recognized as the best in the state in 2016, according to court documents. The State House of Representatives honored her as Public Citizen of the Year in 2016.
But in 2017, a jail employee alleged McGuffey created a hostile work environment. McGuffey wanted public force incidents against inmates investigated more thoroughly.
According to City Beat, the investigation into McGuffey centered on “allegations of favoritism, bullying and misleading statements to investigators by McGuffey.”
“Some serious allegations were brought to my attention,” Neil said in a statement when McGuffey was demoted. “Throughout the course of a very thorough investigation, these allegations were substantiated.”
The suit alleges that two-thirds of the employees interviewed in the investigation into McGuffey were male, some of whom had stated they didn’t like working for a woman. Statements in support of McGuffey were not included in the investigator’s final report, it claims. McGuffey was replaced with a heterosexual male.