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Colorado DOC Settles Employee Sex Discrimination Suits

The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) has agreed to reinstate one employee and pay her and another woman who were sexually discriminated against a total of $286,210 to settle their lawsuit against CDOC.

The suit named CDOC, its former Executive Director, Joe Ortiz, and its director of administration and finance, C.D. Hay, as defendants. Margret “Peggy” Heil was the head of CDOC’s sex offender treatment program for 19 years when Hay became her supervisor. Within days of his promotion, Hay began taking revenge against Heil because when she supervised a program he ran, she turned down some of his funding requests. Ortiz and Hay replaced her with an unqualified man and reassigned her to a less favorable job that caused “damage to her stature, reputation, and future job prospects.” When she contended the reassignment was retaliatory, she was assigned to an even less favorable job. In 2004, Heil quit and then sued.

Also suing with Heil was Jacqueline Grant. She had received “steady raises and promotions” since her hiring by CDOC in 1997. She was the supervisor of some computer operations at two prisons in Carson City. When Hay became her supervisor, Grant was treated “differently than similarly situated male employees.” When she complained, “She faced worse treatment in the form of retaliation” that forced her into a canteen job.

In late 2006, CDOC settled the women’s lawsuit. Grant was paid $6,000 and her attorneys $14,000. Heil was paid $123,224 in back pay and her lawyers received $142,986. Heil was also reinstated to her $91,254 a year job as chief of clinical research. The settlement described her duties as analyzing and making recommendations “to improve and expand” CDOC’s sex offender program by informing “the new legislature and governor regarding clinical services.” Source: The Pueblo Chieftan.

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