The Michigan Department of Corrections settled a sexual harassment case for $1.1 million involving a current employee.
Two lawsuits were filed, one in federal and one in state court, alleging an employee sexually harassed another employee, Shannon Woods.
Woods said the employee would continuously ask her out, send her pictures of himself nude and try to forcibly kiss her and pet her.
“He continued to harass me over and over again and I complained to management and nothing was ever done,” Woods said.
She decided to sue the department because, after their investigation into the incident, her harasser was still allowed to work around her.
In 2014, Jonathan Marko of Marko Law filed the lawsuit. He said since then, it has been a back and forth battle to try and get this case heard.
“Their tactic is delay, delay, delay, to never allow her to have her day in court and the judge held everyone’s feet to the fire and said this is coming to an end,” Marko said.
It did come to an end on Thursday with the department agreeing to settle instead of going to trial. Victim Shannon Woods will be awarded $1.1 million. She says this is a systemic problem in her department and other and hopes this encourages other women to come forward.
“Don’t be afraid,” Woods said. “Live in your truth, speak up for what’s right for yourself and you’ll be thankful that you did it.
MDOC released the following statement in regards to the incident:
The MDOC does not condone sexual harassment of any type or degree. We settled the case because of his conduct, even though some of it took place after work hours. While these incidents took place prior to Dir. Washington’s appointment as director, she hopes this settlement sends a message the MDOC will not tolerate or accept inappropriate behavior on the part of our staff or contractors.