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Laid-off school employees file race discrimination suit

Although workplace discrimination is illegal, it is unfortunately still a problem in Texas and other parts of the country. In one nearby state, a group of workers have sued a school district on the basis of race discrimination. The five employees specifically claimed that the district was purging employees based on race.

The employees worked in various departments in the school district, including in the superintendent’s office, food services, human resources and facilities. They said the school district historically has laid off black workers and replaced them with consultants who were of another race, perhaps to better reflect the student body's racial ratio. These workers said the school district not only discriminated based on race but also on age. The plaintiffs range in age from 40 to 56 years old.

Named in the suit are the district along with the state’s education department and state superintendent who oversees public instruction. The African-American plaintiffs said these parties violated labor rights in addition to not providing proper layoff notices as well. They are seeking damages stemming from the allegations that the district fired African-Americans to specifically replace them with Latino workers instead.

The district said it is doing the layoffs in order to cut its budget, since the state took over the school district as a result of the district’s debt last year. A total of nearly 150 employees have been laid off so far, the district said. According to the plaintiffs, 90 percent of the individuals being laid off are black. If a preponderance of evidence suggests that an employer in Texas has engaged in race discrimination, monetary relief for damages may be awarded to the plaintiffs, and the illegally fired workers may even be reinstated in their jobs, depending on the situation.

Source: The Daily Breeze, "Inglewood Unified employees file lawsuit claiming racial discrimination", Carley Dryden, May 14, 2014

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