WAILUKU — Maui officials have agreed to pay $350,000 to a retired police captain who claimed in a federal lawsuit that she faced sex discrimination when she was passed over for a promotion.
The lawsuit filed in July 2016 was dismissed late last month after Mollie Klingman reached the settlement with Maui County, The Maui News reported Thursday.
The lawsuit claimed the Maui Police Department discriminated against Klingman when it promoted a male captain to assistant chief in December 2014. Klingman started working for the department in 1987 and was promoted to captain in 2011.
Klingman had more seniority and experience in the department’s Support Services Bureau commanded by the assistant chief, than the promoted male captain, the lawsuit claimed.
Klingman retired in April 2015 because “her work environment became very difficult for her” after she was not promoted, according to court documents. She left before obtaining maximum benefits.
Maui officials denied the discrimination claims, saying the man who was promoted “performed best in the interview,” according to court filings. The county said it did not consider Klingman’s sex as a factor in the promotion decision.
The county reached the settlement to “avoid the expense, delay, uncertainty, and burden of continued litigation,” according to the agreement.
The settlement is not admission of any wrongdoing, and the county “remains committed to provide equal employment opportunity for all employees in county employment,” it said in a statement this week.
Maui County wanted no admission of liability in agreeing to a settlement, said Michael Green, Klingman’s attorney.
“There’s still not a single woman who reached promotion level beyond captain,” Green said. “They need to try harder. The commitment needs to be greater. Actions speak louder than words.”