NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Lawsuits filed in local and federal court accuse Department of Labor and Workforce Development leaders of forcing out white employees and replacing them with black employees.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Lawsuits filed in local and federal court accuse Department of Labor and Workforce Development leaders of forcing out white employees and replacing them with black employees.
The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/128tPxX) the complaints stem from the two years that Commissioner Karla Davis ran the agency.
Davis, Deputy Commissioner Alisa Malone and former Assistant Administrator Turner Nashe, resigned in March, just before an audit exposed the mismanagement of millions of dollars. The department made more than $73 million in fraudulent and improper payments, including some to people who were dead, incarcerated or working for the state, over a period of six years, according to the state audit.
In one suit filed in federal court, 27-year employee Donald Ingram claims he one of 28 white employees forced out by Davis, Malone and Nashe, all of whom are black.
Records show that in Davis' first year, she fired 15 executives _ only a few state agencies terminated more _ but data on the races of those dismissed employees was not immediately available.
According to Ingram's suit, Davis, Malone and Nashe “began decimating the Department of Labor by forcing out or firing dozens of valuable, dedicated, long-term employees.''
Labor claims Ingram was let go because he mismanaged millions of dollars had poor job performance.
A federal jury trial is scheduled for April 2014. Ingram is seeking more than $500,000, plus reinstatement and damages.
Annie Hendricks has sued the Department in Davidson County Chancery Court, claiming she was forced into a “demeaning'' job reassignment and replaced by black employees with less experience. Labor has asked that the suit be dismissed. The agency says Hendricks failed to prove she was discriminated against, in part because her salary, work hours and benefits did not change.
Hendricks, who is representing herself, said she plans to respond to the dismissal motion this week.