San Francisco Housing Authority Director Accused of Discrimination (BTW, He’s Black!)

December 3, 2012  |  

In an interesting twist on discrimination lawsuits, a white attorney for the San Francisco Housing Authority is suing the agency and its executive director, Henry Alvarez, who is African-American, for discrimination and harassment.

Tim Larsen, the SFHA assistant general counsel, filed the complaint in San Francisco Superior Court on November 21 accusing Alvarez of repeatedly discriminating against white employees in favor of African-American employees. He also claims the executive director is a bully who uses offensive language and behavior in the office.

Larsen said he was repeatedly passed over for promotions and better assignments in favor of his African-American colleagues, decisions made by Alvarez. He cited several instances of language used by Alvarez where he demonstrated his favoritism for African-American employees.

The San Francisco Chronicle has more in-depth coverage of the lawsuit, looking into Alvarez’s background at the San Antonio Housing Authority where an employee also filed a complaint against him for an “inappropriate outburst.” The paper also spoke to several past employees of Alvarez, who echoed Larsen’s complaints about questionable behavior.

This position at the SFHA has also had its share of controversies, with previous executive directors leaving because of wrongdoings and inaction. The Chronicle reported that the SFHA operates 6,476 units of low-income housing at 45 housing projects throughout San Francisco, as well as runs the Section 8 voucher program.

Amos Brown, president of the Housing Authority Commission, calls the lawsuit “a joke,” asking “How can he be discriminated against?”
What do you think? Is it possible?

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