Large settlement for a Texas officer in race discrimination case

An African-American police chief, who lost his position as a result of racial issues, has reportedly settled an employment discrimination lawsuit against the city of Jasper, Texas, and others for approximately $831,000. Some say the settlement is one of the largest of its kind in East Texas.

According to the lawsuit, the mayor of Jasper, as an owner of a local radio station, utilized the former police chief's personnel information that was retained in a file to suggest he was a criminal. It was alleged that the intention was to create "racial animosity" in the city, and that the radio station failed to mention the plaintiff's accomplishments and awards from his twenty years with the Texas Department of Public Safety and as a volunteer in the community.

Moreover, in the lawsuit, the plaintiff asserted that the city used a particular "scoring system" to preclude the African American man from being employed. The plaintiff was originally hired in early 2011 as a temporary chief; however, he became a fulltime employee on April 22, 2011. Ultimately, he was let go in June of the same year, after an election replaced three black participants of city council with white individuals.

Race discrimination in the workplace

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act protect individuals against race-based employment discrimination. Race discrimination can take many forms, including hiring decisions, terminations, layoffs, wages, promotions, job training and other adverse employment actions. The law applies to private employers with 15 or more workers and to all state and local governmental entities - regardless of the number of employees.

If you believe that you have been a victim of employment discrimination in the workplace, take the time to meet with a legal professional about what is going on. No one deserves to put up with a negative working environment that perpetuates stereotypes. Moreover, this type of activity is against the law. To learn more about your applicable rights, speak with a seasoned employment law attorney.