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California Prison System Settles Marital Status Discrimination Suit

Terry Dickinson was employed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) as a Correctional Counselor II in the Inmate Appeals Office at the California State Prison-Solano when Warden Tom Carey and other prison officials allegedly informed him that he would never be considered for a permanent Assistant Warden-level position because his wife worked as an Associate Warden-Central Services at CSP-Solano. Later, this was repeated with various explanations ranging from the fact that prison officials would be "uncomfortable" with the relationship between him and his wife to their potentially wanting to take vacation at the same time. Dickinson had already served in an out-of-class assignment as acting Assistant Warden-Business Services, so there was no question about his qualifications for the position.

Dickinson complained about this discrimination to state officials and also filed complaints about the ability of some prison officials to perform their jobs. This allegedly led to retaliation which caused Dickinson to file an employment discrimination suit in state court pro se. The court dismissed the suit, but the marital discrimination claim was reinstated on motion for new trial and withstood an appeal by defendants.

By then, six years had passed since the suit was initially filed and Dickinson was a Correctional Administrator (or Associate Warden) in the CDCR Community Correctional Facilities Administration. On July 16, 2009, he settled the lawsuit for a total of $5,000, including attorney fees. He was represented at that time by the law firm of Siegel & Lee. See: Dickinson v. California State Prison-Solano, Solano Co. Superior Ct., Case No. FCS022863.

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Related legal case

Dickinson v. California State Prison-Solano