UPDATE 9:05 P.M. (WLNS) – The City of Lansing released a statement responding to the suit:

“The City of Lansing does not comment on active lawsuits, however, after an initial reviewing of this case we find it to be inconsistent with the facts and the law.”


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the City of Lansing for alleged discrimination against a former detention officer.

According to the suit, former detention officer Sylvia Coleman, a Seventh Day Adventist, was fired when she told the City of Lansing that she could not work a shift that would take place between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday, as Seventh Day Adventists observe this time as the Sabbath.

The suit also alleges that after the Saturday shift, the City of Lansing failed to accommodate Coleman, and failed to prove that accommodating Coleman would cause undue hardship for the operation.

“Religious discrimination and intolerance have no place in the workplace today,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a press release. “Employees should not have to choose between their religion and their livelihood, particularly when the employer can accommodate their religious beliefs. The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the religious rights and religious freedom of employees by ensuring that no one faces unlawful discrimination in the workplace.”

According to the Justice Department, the suit aims to force the City of Lansing to implement policies that would prevent religious discrimination, obtain monetary damages for Coleman, and other relief.