Maui Police Department faces sex discrimination lawsuit - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui Police Department faces sex discrimination lawsuit

(image: Hawaii News Now) (image: Hawaii News Now)
WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A former police captain is suing the Maui Police Department for sex discrimination.

Maui County lawyers aimed to have the lawsuit thrown out in federal court on Friday. However, the judge denied it -- meaning it will head to trial.

Mollie Klingman always had a love for law enforcement. Becoming a police officer was a life-long dream of hers.

"For the entire 28-plus years that I wore the Maui police badge, I was proud because I was serving the community and it was something that I thought my family could look up to and my children would be proud of and I felt like I was making a difference," Klingman said.

Klingman said she was the first female to be named an “outstanding recruit” and the first female on the island of Lanai. Her goal was to become the department's first assistant chief.

Her attorney says she was never given that chance because she is a woman.

“There was never going to be, and never has been a woman above captain. As a chief, as an assistant chief, deputy chief, it just wasn't happening. It's an ‘old boy’ thing there, they protect each other," said Michael Green.

Klingman said she knew she worked in a department that was 90-percent male. But she said she always believed the Maui Police Department was fair and she wanted to trust the promotion process.

"An assistant chief in the department had told me I shouldn't bother to apply. That I should know how it is, that's the way the department works...but I did apply," she said.

She said she was passed up for promotion twice in her career. Once in 2013 and again in 2014.

The man who beat her is current Assistant Chief John Jakubczak.

Klingman said she was notified she was not selected the day after her interview and met with Chief Faaumu and Deputy Chief Rickard to find out why.

"I said, 'Women have to work twice as hard to get anywhere in this department.' Neither of them said that's not true...neither of them tried to settle me down."  

Green claims Deputy Chief Dean Rickard, who sits on the promotion board, told an officer before the exam that Klingman wouldn't even be considered.

"The conversation is, ‘Who do you think should be the assistant chief?’ The officer says, ‘I think Captain Klingman.’ The response is, ‘No (expletive) way. She will never get that position as long as I'm the deputy chief,’" Green claimed.

"So basically no matter what I did, no matter what song or dance I did, there was no chance that I was going to be considered for the promotion and that's an unfair process," said Klingman.

Maui County attorneys declined an interview with Hawaii News Now but argued in court that Jakubczak was the most qualified for the position and received the highest score and excelled in his interview portion of the exam.

On PBS Hawaii Thursday night, Maui’s Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu denied women face discrimination within the department.

“Whether you're a female officer or male officer, they treat them the same…it's not a hostile working environment, it's a friendly working environment and everybody is treated equally,” Chief Faaumu said.

She hopes by coming forward, there will be a change of attitude and policy.

"Coming forward with all of this, I don't want to mar the police department. The Office of the Chief I hold in high regard. But the people sitting it in right now I don't because they're not doing the right thing and I feel with every fiber of my being if I didn't come forward with all of this now, then what about the officers that are there now?"

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