Taylor Mill settles 3-year gender discrimination suit brought by former police officers

The women say they were paid less than their male counterparts and passed over for promotions.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 9:12 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Hundreds of thousands of dollars were awarded Wednesdayto two former officers with the Taylor Mill Police Department.

Taylor Mill City Council approved the $330,000 settlement in an executive session Wednesday night.

It comes three years after the former officers, Karen Spanyer and Heather Mitchell, launched a suit claiming gender discrimination.

“The discrimination against me was very gradual, and I didn’t know a lot of what was going on until we got access to the documents,” Spanyer said Tuesday.

Spanyer says during their time on the force she and Mitchell were paid less than their male counterpart and not offered educational opportunities to advance.

The complaint further alleges Spanyer and Mitchell met the qualification requirements for promotions but that those requirements then changed to suit the male applicants.

Steve Wolnitzek, the attorney representing the former officers, spoke with FOX19 when the suit was filed in 2019.

He said Spanyer applied for a sergeant position and did not get it but was told she was the second-best qualified. Spanyer was also allegedly told by a higher-up that she was so qualified they wished they had a “specialist position” for her. Later, Wolnitzek claims, a specialist position came open, and a man who came in third for the original sergeant opening got it over Spanyer.

Taylor Mill City Attorney Jeff Mado sent FOX19 the following statement Tuesday:

“The City of Taylor Mill is an equal opportunity employer. Its police department’s hiring and promotion policies meet or exceed nationally accredited law-enforcement agency standards.

“Subject to City Commission approval, the City will be settling a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by former police officers, Karen Spanyer and Heather Mitchell. In settling the suit, the City specifically denies gender played any part in the promotions made within the police department . The City is settling the suit solely to avoid the additional litigation costs, delays, and risks associated with civil litigation and to allow it’s dedicated, professional staff to remain focused on serving the needs of its citizens.”

Spanyer says these three long years have been exhausting. Now that the suit is coming to a close, she hopes to empower other women.

“My main objective of this whole thing is, I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to other female officers or anyone for that matter,” she said.

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