State offers $750K settlement to ousted Human Rights commission director who sued for discrimination

Marilyn Stewart worked as executive director of the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights from July 1 to 24, 2019. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

The state of Alaska is offering a $750,000 legal settlement to the former head of the state commission on human rights.

Marilyn Stewart sued the state in 2022, alleging that she was removed as chair of the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights due to discrimination. The commission itself is tasked with investigating allegations of discrimination.

Stewart served as the commission’s executive director for less than a month in July 2019.

In her lawsuit, Stewart alleged that because she is Black, a woman and a military veteran, two former commissioners convinced the others to vote to terminate her. 

In the settlement signed this week, the state agreed with a 2022 investigation from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that found Stewart’s complaints were valid and offered $750,000 in exchange for Stewart dropping her suit. 

Stewart and an attorney representing her did not immediately provide a comment on the settlement. 

In a statement, the state human rights commission said that none of the commissioners who voted to terminate Stewart remain on the commission. They added that the commission is committed to its mission to “eliminate and prevent discrimination for all Alaskans.”

The settlement is subject to approval by the Alaska Legislature.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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