White Worker Tells Black Ft. Worth Co-Worker, ‘We Freed Y’all,’ Claims Civil Rights Lawsuit

June 6, 2013  |  


A black Fort Worth city employee says he was passed over for  promotions, was stereotyped, and subjected to hateful racial slurs. And now Darrenn Foreman, an employee of the city parks department, has filed a civil rights lawsuit in Tarrant County District Court last week, reports NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.

During one instance a co-worker allegedly told Foreman, “We freed y’all” when he directed  the employee to do a task and he refused.  Foreman was interviewed for a promotion to senior maintenance worker in April 2011. Two weeks after the interview,  according to the lawsuit, two members of the panel who had interviewed him congratulated him on earning the highest score and earning the position. The promotion never came.  In June he was re-interviewed as the only candidate for the job. But again he was not promoted.

“According to the lawsuit, one person on the 3-member panel that interviewed him told Foreman that he had scored him high but a parks department official required him to change his scores,” reports the network.

Then the city posted a second job opening for the same position in another part of the city. Both positions were later filled by other people.

When Foreman complained to the human resources department he was told his “original test documents prepared by the interviewing panel had been tampered with — there were erasures,” the lawsuit states.

“Foreman said that although a city investigator told him he should have received the promotion, the investigator later left the city, and the human relations director stopped answering his calls,” according to the news report.

Foreman claims he also has suffered health problems due to the “racially motivated, offensive and demeaning deprivation.” He says he suffers from heart palpitations, high blood pressure, loss of sleep, depression, loss of appetite and anxiety. In March 2011, he went out on medical leave.

The city of Fort Worth, city manager Tom Higgins, parks director Richard Zavala and several other city officials are named as defendants in the suit.

One lesson from this situation is that you shouldn’t take being skipped over for a promotion lying down. If you know you deserve one, if you’ve been told you have one, not getting one is a sign that something’s up. It doesn’t even need to be anything as drastic as this. Being passed over should make you question your relationship to the organization and your desire to stay. Here are other signs that you might want to consider moving on before you’re asked to do so.

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