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Bozeman's first female Chief Municipal Judge sues city, claiming gender discrimination

Judge Colleen herrington .jpg
Posted at 4:39 PM, Apr 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-25 12:31:05-04

BOZEMAN — This week, Municipal Chief Judge Colleen Herrington filed a lawsuit against the City of Bozeman in Gallatin County District Court claiming she is the victim of gender discrimination.

“They decided that I was only worth 90% of what he had been making. So that is why I have filed the lawsuit,” says Herrington.

Judge Herrington has been a full-time judge since 2021. When she was elected, she took the Chief Judge position in 2023. She is suing, alleging that she is being paid less than the former Chief Judge Karl Seel.

“That prevented me from getting the equal pay compared to my predecessor male Chief Judge,” says Herrington.

According to the lawsuit, it alleges the city provides a 15% director benefit, a benefit that Chief Judge Seel received that was provided at the discretion of then-City Manager Jeff Mihelich.

Herrington then filed a grievance with the city, after she found out that she was not getting the 15% pay bump.

“Yet when the opportunity to not discriminate against the first female Chief Judge that Bozeman had, they chose to discriminate,” says Herrington.

Tuesday night, Mayor Terry Cunningham proclaimed Equal Pay Day in the City of Bozeman. Now, Herrington wants to see the city follow through with equal pay.

“I am hoping to accomplish that the city stands by what they just signed. The Equal Pay proclamation states that they will not discriminate against women,” says Herrington.

We reached out to Bozeman city officials who say they cannot comment on active litigation.