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Lawsuit Accusing Jackson City and Former Police Chief of Discrimination Settled

A female police officer who levied accusations against the Jackson City police department and former Police Chief Lee Vance has agreed to settle the case.

Tina Wallace filed a federal lawsuit in April 2017 claiming she’d been a victim of racial and gender discrimination after being demoted from a deputy chief to lieutenant in 2015.

According to Wallace, the demotion occurred because she was an African-American woman. She claimed African-American men and white women had been treated more favorably when in similar circumstances. She further alleged the demotion was linked to her reporting misconduct by African-American male police officers and had been performed in retaliation of her report.

The settlement amount was not disclosed publicly, but was approved by the City Council.

According to City Council President Melvin Priester, Jr, the city was not admitting liability or wrongdoing by itself or by Vance.

Wallace’s attorney, Lisa Ross, issued a statement following approval of the settlement stating:

“We want women of all races to be treated as favorably as men are treated in the workplace,” Ross said.  “All people, not just men, should be able to earn a living without dealing with isms — racism or sexism.”

City Claims Demotion Linked to Dishonest Conduct

According to the city and Vance’s statements in court, the demotion occurred because Wallace had failed a polygraph examination that was linked to an IA investigation into a complaint about the hiring of officers for special events.

The investigation led to Lt. Jessie Robinson being charged with selecting and organizing officers who work special events instead of choosing them at random, as is the rule. According to Robinson, he’d been pressured by Wallace to choose specific officers instead of making the choices randomly.

Wallace denied the accusations. Both underwent a polygraph test.

Wallace’s discrimination case had been scheduled to go to trial in January, but instead went to mediation where the settlement was reached.

Discrimination in the Workplace Can Be Resolved through a Variety of Measures

If you believe you’ve been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, we can help. Though it’s sometimes necessary to take the matter to trial, many of these claims are often settled outside of court. This means the details of the settlement remain private, but the issue is resolved to the complete satisfaction of everyone involved.

For more information or to speak to someone about workplace discrimination, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377 to schedule a free consultation.