An employee of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, has filed suit against the governing body over alleged systemic racial discrimination and retaliation.
The plaintiff says he has worked for Metro Water Services (MWS), which is operated by the defendant, since 1973. According to the lawsuit, MWS fosters a discriminatory and hostile work environment towards black employees, who are allegedly denied opportunities for advancement in favor of white employees.
“Throughout [the plaintiff’s] employment with Defendant, white employees have occupied the vast majority of management, supervisory, lead and high-paying jobs,” the case notes, arguing that this imbalance is a result of the defendant’s alleged practice of “preselection.”
The suit explains that the defendant tailors its job descriptions and requirements to specific individuals in order to give those “preselected” candidates an advantage. In the plaintiff’s case, his employer supposedly disqualified him from an open position by requiring job candidates to hold an engineering degree, a credential the case claims was not essential to perform the required duties and was set in place only to allow a preselected white individual with an engineering degree to be promoted.
Moreover, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant fosters a hostile work environment in which racially derogatory conduct is permitted and condoned, further encouraging the “unequal treatment of black employees by white supervisors and managers.”
According to the complaint, the plaintiff has filed two charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and two lawsuits against his employer for which he was, and continues to be, retaliated against:
“Defendant has retaliated against Plaintiff by subjecting him to harassment, embarrassment, humiliation, indignity, ostracism and other action which substantially interfered with the terms and conditions of his employment after he engaged in protected activity by opposing the illegal policies and practices described in this Complaint, and/or the exercise of his federally-protected rights.”
In addition to compensatory damages, the lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against the defendant to “undo the effects of [the defendant’s] past racial discrimination and to prevent such discrimination from continuing to affect adversely the lives and careers of black employees in the future.”