Corrections officer sues Shelby County for alleged workplace discrimination

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  A corrections officer filed a lawsuit against the county for alleged discrimination at the workplace.

According to the lawsuit, Vita West was first hired by the Shelby County Division of Corrections in January 2002. Sixteen years later, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission claiming gender discrimination and an workplace environment that she described as being “sexually hostile.”

She said after speaking up about the issue she was subjected to acts of retaliation.

West was “subjected to unnecessary scrutiny, singled out for and issued unwarranted discipline, singled out for assignments to maximum security buildings, and placed on an extended administrative leave pending a baseless investigation,” the lawsuit read.

Then in May 2019, she was accused of abusing her position and suspended without pay for 30 days. She ultimately was given only 15 days after appealing the decision.

Attorneys for West are seeking back pay and lost benefits as well as compensatory damages for “emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation and embarrassment” caused by the county.

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