Fort Worth Employee Claims Racial Discrimination in Lawsuit

"We freed y'all," black employee says he was told

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    A black city employee in Fort Worth claims he was cheated out of promotions, stereotyped, and subjected to racial slurs, including one in which another employee told him, “We freed y'all.”

    The allegations come in a civil rights lawsuit filed in Tarrant County District Court last week by an employee of the city parks department, Darrenn Foreman. See the lawsuit here.

    In February, the lawsuit claims another employee “in response to a directive to perform a task, resisted and said, 'We freed ya’ll.’”

    City spokesman Bill Begley said the city generally does not comment on pending lawsuits.

    Named as defendants are the city of Fort Worth, city manager Tom Higgins, parks director Richard Zavala and several other city officials.

    In April 2011, Foreman was interviewed for a promotion to senior maintenance worker, according to the lawsuit.

    Two weeks later, Foreman claims two members of the panel that had interviewed him congratulated him on earning the highest score and earning the position.

    But he never got the promotion.

    He was re-interviewed in June 2011 and was the only candidate for the job.

    But again, he didn’t get it.

    According to the lawsuit, one person on the 3-member panel that interviewed him told Foreman that he had scored him high but a parks department official required him to change his scores.

    Before he learned how he did, the city posted a second job opening for the same position in another part of the city.

    The city then filled both jobs with other people.

    When he complained again, an employee in the Human Resources Department told him his “original test documents prepared by the interviewing panel had been tampered with — there were erasures,” the lawsuit claims.

    Foreman said that although a city investigator told him he should have received the promotion, the investigator later left the city, and the human relations director stopped answering his calls.

    The employee claims as a result of the “racially motivated, offensive and demeaning deprivation,” he suffers from heart palpitations, high blood pressure, loss of sleep, depression, loss of appetite and anxiety.

    He was placed on medical leave in March.

    A woman who answered the phone at the office of Foreman’s attorney, David Fielding, said Fielding “prefers not to talk to reporters.”

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