Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Case of Ironic Discrimination, Don't You Think?

Wi_icon Thanks to Randy Enochs for help with the title on this post and to Josh Pollack for bringing it to my attention.

I think I will let the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel piece speak for itself:

Johnny Kimble spent a career helping others address employment discrimination as a staffer and supervisor at the state's Equal Rights Division in Milwaukee.

But it didn't save him from becoming a victim of illegal race and gender bias within that very agency, a federal judge has found.

"I guess it's ironic; I'd been protecting rights of other people and couldn't protect my own," Kimble said.

Late last month, a federal judge in Milwaukee ruled that Kimble, who is African-American, had been improperly denied years of raises because of his race and gender. The judge found the state Department of Workforce Development and the former administrator of the Equal Rights Division, J. Sheehan Donoghue, guilty of discrimination.

"I feel vindicated," said Kimble, 61, who retired in 2005 after 33 years of service. Now he awaits either a settlement, or further litigation, regarding the level of back pay and damages he is due.

Bill Cosh, a spokesman for the state Department of Justice, said attorneys for the state are "considering whether an appeal is appropriate."

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman heard the case in July. On Feb. 25, he released a 22-page ruling that found Donoghue essentially ignored Kimble for the 12 years she served as administrator; though he was a member of her management team, she never met with him one-on-one, not even to award the single $300 bonus he received during that time.

On some occasions, however, she blamed him for problems that were actually associated with the Madison office. Kimble was section chief in Milwaukee for 29 years.

Meanwhile, Donoghue gave Kimble's peers base pay raises, and upped her executive assistant's pay to nearly what Kimble earned for supervising the Milwaukee office of the Equal Rights Division, which included about 18 investigators and support staff. She gave out the raises without consulting the workers' evaluations or direct supervisors.

Lot of possible poignant and sarcastic comments could be made on this one, but I think I will leave it with just an observation: employment discrimination can happen anywhere, anytime.  No workplace is immune.



Employment Discrimination | Permalink

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