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Department of Attorney General Michigan State Police Prevail in Employment Lawsuits
December 28, 2021
LANSING - A federal judge granted summary judgement in three civil lawsuits filed by white male police officers against Michigan State Police (MSP), alleging that they were discriminated and retaliated against because of their race and gender, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan Judge Robert J. Jonker dismissed the cases brought by Robert Hahn, Michael Caldwell and Michael McCormick in orders filed Monday.
The McCormick opinion notes, "In this case, Plaintiff Michael McCormick alleges he was passed over for the position of Post Commander in May 2019 in favor of a racial minority because of discriminatory and retaliatory animus due to his race, gender, and the complaints he had made in March 2018 after being passed over for a previous promotion in 2015. But it is uncontroverted that McCormick withdrew his application for Post Commander before it could be considered and his arguments for relief from this requirement of a prima facie case are unavailing. Moreover, McCormick admits he had an angry attitude and that this attitude affected his professional relationships, which is exactly the reasons superiors gave for concern about promoting him. This is fatal to any claim of pretext. Accordingly, and for the reasons set out more fully below, the Court grants the defense motion for summary judgment and dismisses this case."
The Hahn and Caldwell opinion states, "Plaintiffs plainly disagree as a policy matter with the priorities of the Michigan State Police. And at bottom, this is all they have shown. The main characters in this case are all white males. There is scant evidence that Director Gasper had any active involvement in Plaintiffs' disciplinary process. Moreover, Plaintiffs cannot point to a comparator to make out a prima facie case of reverse race and gender discrimination. Nor can they demonstrate the reasons underlying their respective disciplines were pretext for unlawful race and gender discrimination or that their discipline was retaliation for their complaints about the administration's diversity policies. Accordingly, for the reasons explained more fully below, the Court grants the defense motions and dismisses these two lawsuits."
"These dismissals are important not just for MSP's integrity as an employer, but for recognizing there is nothing inherently illegal about a diverse and inclusive work environment," Nessel said. "These suits were an attempt to undermine MSP's efforts to ensure the force properly represents the communities it serves. That doesn't amount to discrimination - it's responsible community policing. I appreciate that Judge Jonker's findings make clear the allegations laid out by these plaintiffs simply did not exist. I'm also proud of the AAGs who worked diligently to achieve this outcome for our client agency."
"This affirms what we have said from the beginning - the claims are false," MSP Director Col. Joe Gasper said. "There never was, or will be, employment, promotion, retention, or any other personnel practice decisions made motivated by bias or based on discrimination. We are pleased with this conclusion and remain committed to supporting a work environment with equal opportunity for all of our members."
You can read both opinions on the Department's website: