A black city employee filed a civil suit against Fort Worth, Texas last week. The complaint alleges he was excluded from promotions and subjected to racial slurs, which led to heart palpitations, high blood pressure, loss of sleep, depression, loss of appetite and anxiety.
The plaintiff, Darrenn Foreman, has named the city of Fort Worth, city manager Tom Higgins, parks director Richard Zavala and other city officials as defendants in the suit.
In one incident cited in the suit, Foreman claims another employee told him, “We freed y’all.” He also alleges he was bypassed for promotions within the city’s Parks Department.
Dallas-Fort Worth’s NBC affiliate reports:
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.
Racial discrimination is rampant in the work environment. It’s caricatured in popular web series like “The Unwritten Rules,” but has real-world implications. More than 33,000 race-based allegations were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012.