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Florida Department of Corrections and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation Paid $35,000 Settlement in Discrimination Lawsuit

Wackenhut Corrections Corporation and the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) paid $35,000 to settle a discrimination and retaliatory practices lawsuit.

In his civil complaint, ex-FDOC senior psychologist Majid A. Shams, who is of Iranian descent, claimed he was hired at Glades Correctional Institution (GCI) in December 1990 as a senior psychologist with a promised starting salary of $41,000. However, the FDCO paid him a salary of only $35,000 despite his objections.

During the period from 1991 to 1993, Shams applied for a promotion to mental health consultant in Regions 1 and 4, but was rejected in favor of less experienced, less qualified persons not in his protected class. Then in September 1993, Shams applied for and accepted a position with “EMSA” Correctional Care at South Florida Reception Center in Miami. Shams resigned from GCI to work in Miami.

Shams claimed FDOC agents Dr. Vada and Dr. Kapnick discriminatorily opposed him working in the prison system. Under pressure from supervisors at EMSA, he resigned his position on September 26, 1994. One month later, he was employed at Palm Beach County Department of Public Safety at a severely reduced salary.

On January 20, 1998, Shams filed a complaint alleging discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) against FDOC.

In February 1998 Shams was offered a position with Wackenhut at South Bay Correctional Institute. Although previously approved by the FDOC credentials review committee in 1992, Shams was denied approval in March 1999 and as a result was placed on unpaid administrative leave and was then terminated on June 15, 2000.

On August 28, 2000, Shams filed a second complaint with FCHR alleging national origin discrimination and retaliation, then, on February 27, 2001, filed a civil complaint in state court alleging national origin discrimination and retaliation.

The lawsuit was settled on October 15, 2004. Shams was represented by West Palm Beach, Florida attorney Frederick W. Ford. See: Shams v. Florida Department of Corrections and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Palm Peach County Florida, Case No. CL-01-2078-AH.

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Related legal case

Shams v. Florida Department of Corrections and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation