Michigan League Hit with Discrimination and Retaliation Suit
The Michigan Credit Union League faces its second gender discrimination lawsuit in two years, after Director of Regulatory Affairs Veronica Madsen filed a lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
Madsen claims the Michigan league violated the Civil Rights Act and Equal Pay Act by paying her a lower salary than her male equivalents and denying a vice president title despite her performing work equivalent to male vice presidents.
She also alleges the league violated the Civil Rights Act and Fair Labor Standards Act when it took adverse action against her after she provided unflattering deposition testimony in a 2010 gender discrimination complaint brought by former CUcorp Vice President Kim Irwin. Irwin, who led CUCorp’s Invest in America program, left the league CUSO in May 2010.
In that March 2011 deposition, Madsen testified that she believes the league engages in gender discrimination, providing specific examples of pay disparity based on gender. She also testified that she had raised concerns about her salary about 14 times to her boss, Mike DeFors, and that she feared retribution for her testimony.
According to court documents, following the deposition Madsen was approached by MCUL President/CEO David Adams, who “asked Madsen if she was unhappy with her job, and if she wanted a separation agreement.”
Madsen said she responded that she was happy with her job and had no intention of leaving, to which Adams replied, “I don’t even think we need a General Counsel here”, and said additional negative things about Madsen and her job performance. Adams further informed Madsen she would not be receiving the salary increase she had requested prior to the deposition, and she would not be “doing any additional legal work” for the league, “including handling any employment issues or dealing with any contracts that had a high impact on the company,” according to the complaint.
The legal documents outline Madsen’s performance review scores, which show a decline following her deposition testimony. She filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in December 2011, alleging retaliation for her deposition testimony. Later that month, the league demoted her to Director of Regulatory Affairs, stripping her of her General Counsel title and duties. She amended her EEOC complaint in January to include the demotion.
Adams said the league has no comment on the suit, calling it an “internal matter.” A call to Madsen was not returned.
The lawsuit comes as most league employees and leaders are in Traverse City, Mich. for the organization’s Annual Convention and Exposition, which concludes Saturday.