A black lawyer who was hired in 2019 to head the Oregon State Civil Rights Agency filed a $ 2.3 million lawsuit, saying white subordinates rejected her expertise and refused to follow up its guidelines, according to a report.
The alleged abuse included the delivery of an anonymous package of excrement to his home in June 2020, according to the lawsuit, according to OregonLive.com.
Carol Johnson previously headed the Fair Housing Commission in Arkansas before being hired in Oregon, according to the report. She resigned from her position in Oregon in 2020 and started a similar new job in Austin, Texas in February of this year.
Johnson’s lawsuit marks the second time in five years that a black lawyer working for an Oregon government agency has alleged racial discrimination, according to the report.
In a previous case, attorney Erious Johnson, who worked for the State Department of Justice, reached a $ 205,000 settlement with the state after his own agency investigated his use of a surveillance to monitor people who used the hashtag “Black Lives Matter” on media networks, according to the outlet.
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In Johnson’s case, she claims that when she informed Oregon labor officials of her concerns, she was told that most black professionals did not last long in Oregon, according to a complaint filed by Johnson in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Lawyers for the state’s civil rights agency have denied Johnson’s claims, according to the report. In addition, labor commissioner Val Hoyle – one of the labor officials to whom Johnson complained – says she hired a “neutral third-party investigator” to verify Johnson’s claims.
The investigator’s report is still pending, Hoyle said, according to OregonLive.com.
Johnson’s lawsuit alleges she had no authority to discipline or reprimand her staff for poor job performance or insubordination, saying it undermined her authority and left her vulnerable to further abuse.
The lawsuit also claims Johnson encountered resistance when attempting to launch a training program to investigate civil rights complaints.
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“Several Caucasian staff were antagonistic and disrespectful to a very experienced African-American presenter,” the lawsuit claims. Johnson added that his complaints about the treatment were ignored.
In July 2020, Johnson announced his intention to resign, citing “uninterrupted discriminatory working conditions”.
Shortly after, Hoyle issued a statement to employees saying she would not tolerate “anti-black prejudice in our workplace.”
Johnson’s lawsuit seeks $ 17,000 in economic damages and $ 2.3 million in non-economic damages, OregonLive.com reported.