Ohio Jail Fights Women Guards' Discrimination Suit

Summit County jail women female guardsAKRON, Ohio -- The federal government has put its weight behind a discrimination lawsuit filed by female jail guards who said they are effectively being demoted because county officials don't want them watching over male inmates while showering or being strip searched.

The 21 guards at the Summit County jail said a personnel policy effectively bars them from most jobs overseeing male inmates. Their lawsuit was filed last year in U.S. District Court. Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, told Judge Sara Lioi last week that the case was a matter of important public interest and asked for permission to back the guards.

There was no immediate ruling from the judge, whose Aug. 5, 2013, trial date provides plenty of time for negotiations to settle the matter. There have already been on-and-off settlement talks.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said her office, which represents the sheriff's department, is "trying to work out a resolution that is beneficial to all of the parties." She didn't comment further.

The women claim the personnel policy limits job options because they are mostly assigned to overseeing female inmates. Eighty-two percent of inmates and 80 percent of deputies are male.

The jail said in a court filing that female guards with seniority were bidding on jobs in which they would jeopardize the privacy of inmates being strip-searched or in the showers.

"The three work shifts at the jail need to have a proper number of deputies assigned by gender in order (to) conduct strip searches, showers and not violate the inmates right to privacy," jail commander Gary James said in an affidavit in response to the lawsuit.

James said only 16 of the guards who filed the suit were affected by the staffing policy and none would have their salary, benefits, job title or promotion chances affected.

One guard, however, said in an affidavit that the policy had cost her a shift assignment she had since 2005. Jacquetta Hawkins called the move "a step backward in my career."

The lawsuit seeks an end to the alleged discriminatory job assignments and monetary damages.

Perez said the federal intervention was meant to signal its commitment "to vigorously enforcing the right of employees to be free from sex discrimination in the work place."

Bruce Elfvin, an attorney representing the guards, said, "I think this is the first time I've seen in many, many years that somebody decided to have an entire segregation of their jobs."

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Oh, I see, women guards want to be able to see male prisoners naked, but male guards aren't allowed to see female prisoners naked. Well, let's see the male guards counter-sue for sex discrimination. Tired of women always expecting preferential treatment -- heck, they're still getting into bars for free (ladies night) where men always have to pay. Even with women having careers now and making money, they still get in free. The hell with women till we ALL are treated equally in every way.

June 15 2012 at 10:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ever see what happens when women go to a male nude dance show/review. They're act hornier then most men.... not to mention the dancers always get laid or other sexual favors performed on them. Doesn't matter that some of these women are married, engaged or are in suppossedly committed relationships. Point is, women are not angelic, vituous creatures simply by the virtue that they are female. They're just as sexual and human like as men, if not more. Although, they may be more discreet becuase of self induced social views temperring them. However, given opportunity and power they are just as corruptable as men...ergo, the far higher percentage rate of female guards sexually involved with iboth female and male nmates as opposed to the percentage rate of male guards.

June 15 2012 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

oh boy and if the male prison guards feel left out they can sue for the right to strip search the women and watch them take showers. Am I the only one who is simply left dumbfounded by this one?

June 15 2012 at 3:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doodle's Dad

The same Obamites who threw a hissy fit over women guarding male terrorists at Abu Graib want women to guard American men who haven't even been convicted yet.

June 15 2012 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They could always try for sports reporting from the men's locker room.

June 15 2012 at 1:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 15 2012 at 1:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The double standard for women is absolutely disgusting. It's based on the false stereotype that women are somehow "more" professional than men during opposite sex nudity. You KNOW for a fact that women will absolutely look at male genitals every bit as interested as a male would be in a female prisoners genitals. They just want you to believe they're not interested. They are!!! That's why they try to get jobs that involve male nudity in the first place, but don't support males who want jobs where they can see females naked.

June 15 2012 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gvn3's comment

I worked in the California prison system for several years. I cannot count the number of female correctional officers who got sexually involed with inmates. Many of them got pregnant and some of them were fired and others moved inmates into their homes with their minor children after the inmates were released. Theyappear to be very gullible and believe anything that inmates tell them. There are some good female guards who do therir jobs as well as anyone. but .

June 15 2012 at 2:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a female who worked for 10 years in an all male medium security prison with 2619 inmates. I never saw a female officer work in a position where a strip search was conducted. If these women are putting in for these positions, then it is because they want a better shift or better days off. They still should be denied those positions and it is without saying it is not because of discrimination, it is common sense which some do not have. This is just hog wash, and these women need to wait for other positions or get the hell out of the prison system. They are not going to win this one.....this is just crazy !!!!!

June 15 2012 at 12:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Um I thought that male guards can't stand around and watch females or do the invasive searches. If that's the case then STFU ladies. I don't think you should be able to stand guard over males taking showers either. Get over yourselves and stop the feminist crap

June 14 2012 at 10:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"You can measure the civilization of a society by the way it treats its prisoners." -- Winston Churchill Prisoners forced to stip in front of members of the opposite sex is humiliating and degrading. These people are paying for their crimes by losing their freedom, but they should not need be humiliated. Most people were outraged at the similar treatment of the Abu Grave prisoners. Why woulfd it not outrage us even more when prisoners in the U.S. are thumiliated that same way. Trust me, I'm not sympathetic to people who commit crimes... but, it just goes against my sensibilites to humiliate and de-humanize them.

June 14 2012 at 9:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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