In October 2020, Watson Spence attorneys Alfreda Sheppard and Louis Hatcher recovered a six-figure monetary settlement to resolve a reverse discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed in 2014, alleged that a white female employee of the Richmond County Probate Court was demoted and subjected to a hostile work environment by the Richmond County Probate Court Judge, an African-American male. The lawsuit further alleged the white female was terminated after she complained of her discrimination and retaliation by filing a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission("EEOC").
Hired in 1998, the white female employee had an unblemished personnel file. She dutifully served as lead personnel in the Probate Court for more than a decade. In January 2013, an African-American male was elected to serve as the Probate Court Judge. Approximately six months after taking office, the African-American judge announced that he was "restructuring" the Probate Court. As part of the purported "restructuring," the white female was demoted to a lower position, suffered a $15,000 per year decrease in her salary, and denied a position within the Probate Court, which she believes she was most qualified to hold. In lieu of selecting the white female employee, the judge chose two African-American females. Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the white female employee filed a Charge of Discrimination, which alleged she was discriminated against because of her race and age. After the Probate Court judge became aware of the white female's complaint, the judge retaliated by intentionally creating an intolerable work environment for the white female employee. The most egregious act of retaliation occurred when the judge, during a staff meeting, read aloud the Charge of Discrimination filed by the white female employee. This incomprehensible act by a judge – someone purportedly charged with upholding the law – was a clear violation of the federal and state constitutional rights and protections afforded to any employee who files a Charge of Discrimination against their employer. Although the City of Augusta, Georgia, denied liability for its judge's retaliatory actions, the City paid a six-figure settlement.
If you believe your constitutional rights have been violated, Watson Spence wants to help you. For additional information or assistance, contact Alfreda Sheppard or Louis Hatcher.