Dallas Utility Workers Claim Racial Discrimination

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    Among other things, the lawsuit cites a noose displayed in an employee’s car at the Southside Water Treatment Plant two years ago. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    The Dallas Water Department tolerates racial discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation, according to a new federal lawsuit.

    The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by 11 African-Americans, one Hispanic and one Asian-American employee.

    Dallas Utility Workers Claim Racial Discrimination

    [DFW] Dallas Utility Workers Claim Racial Discrimination
    The Dallas Water Department is a hostile work environment, a federal lawsuit says. (Published Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009)

    “It’s business as usual. It’s a good old boy syndrome,” said employee Leroy White.

    Among other things, the lawsuit cites a noose displayed in an employee’s car at the Southside Water Treatment Plant two years ago.

    ”Five days later he came with a bigger noose,” said employee Clement Bernard. “He stated it was because he thought I was wrong for making him take the noose out of his truck on city property.”

    The city disciplined the employee with the noose and that employee later resigned.

    In a prepared statement, city spokesman Frank Librio said the city does not tolerate discrimination. 

    “The City took corrective measures regarding these situations at the time the allegations were first reported. The City denies that it has engaged in any unlawful conduct,” he said. 

    The statement said a specific program was developed for the water department to avoid discrimination and a hostile work environment. 

    But the lawsuit claims discrimination still exists.

    “These individuals have raised these complaints with the city of Dallas and with their employers for years,” attorney Jay Ellwanger said. “We’re asking that it stop. We’re asking that our clients be given damages.”

    Get More:

    Click here to view the lawsuit and click here to read the city's response.