Tag: discrimination

Dallas County sued for $60 million for racial discrimination and harassment

By Pierre R. Berastain

David Womble, courtesy of Dallas Voice

David Womble, a supervisor of facilities management in Dallas County, received a pay raise after R.L. Lawson filed a complaint indicating Womble had made racial and anti-gay remarks.  Now, Dallas County is being sued for sixty million dollars.

According to the lawsuit, plaintiffs were subjected to a racist and discriminatory work environment that included graffiti with the words “white power”, a “black Coke can found hanging with a “noose” from a box in the North Tower engine room,” and better tools for white workers.  Womble is also said to have worn a fake gold tooth while mocking his black subordinates.

Dallas County maintenance workers allege racial discrimination in federal lawsuit

By Kevin Krause 
kkrause@dallasnews.com

Published: 27 June 2012 10:55 PM

Dallas County has a history of racial discrimination in its jail maintenance department and officials have done little about numerous complaints in recent years, even boosting the pay of one white supervisor at the center of the allegations, a $60 million federal lawsuit claims.

County officials have said they are investigating allegations in that department after several black employees complained about racist graffiti and mistreatment. But an attorney for Dennis Jones, R.L. Lawson and Clarence Jones said it’s too little, too late.

“If Dallas County was serious in addressing the problems, this action would have been taken long before now,” said the attorney, Larry E. Jarrett.

County officials declined to comment about the investigation or the allegations because of the pending lawsuit. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he couldn’t comment but said the county is “committed to providing a nondiscriminatory workplace for all of its employees.”

The problems allegedly began in 2010 when black maintenance employees first complained. Grievances tell of “white power” epithets spray-painted on jail walls, anti-gay jokes, a noose and racially insensitive remarks made by white supervisors.

One supervisor allegedly put false gold teeth in his mouth to mock a black subordinate.

Jarrett said he has photographs of the graffiti and what he says was a noose, as well as witnesses to the hostile work environment.

Dennis Jones, 51, who initiated the lawsuit, claims he was fired along with two other black employees — LaParker Smith and Darian Fisher — for having felony records even though they disclosed their records when they were hired. They were the only ones fired. The lawsuit said whites and Hispanics with similar backgrounds were allowed to keep working.

All three men were later rehired.

The lawsuit was originally filed last year and amended to include Lawson and Clarence Jones this month.

Clarence Jones, 27, who is not related to Dennis Jones, filed a grievance through the county in February, saying he went to the depopulated Bill Decker jail on his normal rounds and saw the words “white power” sprayed on the walls in the maintenance shop. He said in the grievance that management “does not do enough to inform employees of what harassment is nor admonish or warn individuals to abstain from such behaviors.”

Read full article here

Denton County to Pay Over Half Million Dollars in Discrimination Suit

Image
Cary Piel

By Pierre R. Berastain

“I understand why people hung people from trees…[I] want to go home and put on my white pointy hat.”  Those are the alleged words Denton County felony Prosecutor Cary Piel told his black co-worker Nadiya Williams-Boldware who sued in federal court and was awarded over half million dollars for the discriminatory incident.

After being called a troublemaker by a co-worker, dismissed by her boss—the supervisor happened to be Cary Piel’s wife— and turned away by the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division, Boldware took her complaints to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  The story can be found here.

Image
Susan Piel

After the verdict—on Monday, June 22, 2012—Denton County District Attorney Paul Johnson fired the four prosecutors who cost the county the hefty $510,000 penalty: Susan Peil, Cary Peil, John Renz, and Ryan Calvert.  Calvert is Cary Peil’s brother-in-law, and Renza was Peil’s partner in court.  Read more about the firings here.