Black female deputy warden sues Michigan corrections, alleges discrimination

"They repeatedly have hired people over me with less experience and less qualifications," said Kim Cargor.

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A 61-year-old veteran prison warden is suing the Michigan Department of Corrections after repeatedly being denied a promotion due to her race and gender. 

Kim Cargor joined the department in 1985. She has served as deputy warden and acting warden at the Charles E. Egeler Reception and Guidance Center near Jackson since 2011, the Detroit Free Press reports. In her complaint filed last week in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, she claims that she’s a victim of cronyism and discrimination. 

Kim Cargor, (Michigan Dept. of Corrections)

“It’s not how much you know and how well you can do the job,” she tells the Detroit Free Press. “They repeatedly have hired people over me with less experience and less qualifications.”

Throughout her career with the department, Cargor claims she maintained an exemplary performance record and never faced any disciplinary action. Yet she’s been turned down for a warden’s job six times.

On its website, the department notes that among its list of values is “Demonstrating commitment and dedication to the organization and to each other,” but Cargor’s dedication to the job has seemingly long been overlooked by her peers. 

According to her lawsuit, of the 19 wardens appointed by the department since 2018, only one was a Black woman and most of the rest were males, according to Deadline Detroit. 

Cargor’s attorney, Jonathan Marko, said his client hit “a glass ceiling for promotion, especially among minorities.

She’s been nothing but a model employee for the state of Michigan,” Marko added, according to the report. “And she has warden written all over her. … It’s very clear that she was discriminated against.”

Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan notes that Cargor’s attorney “has won judgments or settlements in numerous discrimination and retaliation suits against the corrections department,” per Deadline Detroit.

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