LANSING, Mich. — A Lansing woman is suing the Ingham County 30th Judicial Circuit for racial discrimination.
She alleges that the court, where she used to work, passed her over for a promotion in favor of a less-qualified white coworker.
An attorney representing Ingham County declined to comment on the case.
Karen Taylor served as a pretrial investigator from 2006 to 2019. Over the course of those years, Taylor said, there were three instance when less-skilled, white colleagues were promoted instead of her.
In 2010, she interviewed for a job as a probation officer at the 55th District Court. The all-white panel that interviewed her ended up hiring a white woman who had just graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.
In 2018, she interviewed with another all-white panel for an investigator position. Taylor had been doing investigative work for two decades and there were two positions open, so she felt confident applying for the job, she said. She didn’t get the it.
Instead, two white law clerks who had been working for circuit court judges were hired.
In 2019, Taylor applied for a job she had suggested the court create based on responsibilities she thought needed to be handled. She was beaten out by a coworker she had trained.
“It was very hurtful. It was very humiliating. I had already been doing senior duties for three years from the time that my two co-workers had gotten there and then to be told that one of them was getting the promotion, I was just flabbergasted,” Taylor said.
Taylor sued the court in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Her lawyers believe her case is a clear example of racial discrimination.
“When you have an individual who’s extremely well qualified as our client is for a position that she’s actually already doing and you skip over her based on the color of her skin, that’s illegal,” said senior trial counsel Jim Rasor.
“I knew that I was not going to stand by and let this happen to me or anybody else again,” said Taylor. “Somebody was going to know about it...what had happened to me.”