New York State Division of Human Rights Finds Maintenance Worker Was Denied Full-time Position Based on His Race

Determined Four White Co-Workers Who Were Hired after Him Received Promotions
November 21, 2014

Frederick K. Brewington of the Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington has announced that the New York State Division of Human Rights ruled that his client, Howard Monroe, showed probable cause that his employer, the Town of Hempstead, Department of Parks & Recreation, engaged in discriminatory and retaliatory practices in the workplace based on Mr. Monroe’s race. The agency found that Mr. Monroe was passed over for a promotion for full-time work without explanation, and was subject to humiliation and abuse as a result.

In March 2009, Mr. Monroe applied for the position as a part-time Maintenance Helper, but since he had a Commercial Driver’s License, the Town hired him as a Driver. In his complaint, Mr. Monroe alleged that, since his employment with the Town, he has not received a promotion to a full-time position while four Caucasian co-workers who were hired after Mr. Monroe — Bruno Bacciatti, Daniel Harris, James Vouloukos and Roger Fraile — were promoted.

On May 9, 2014, Mr. Monroe complained to two co-workers — Cary Cook and Ryan Kelly — that they were not performing their fair share of their work. Mr. Cook and Mr. Monroe later got into a heated argument over Mr. Cook’s performance and allegedly used a racial epithet towards Mr. Monroe. The incident was reported by Mr. Monroe to his supervisor, Jamie Tintle, but Mr. Monroe claimed Mr. Tintle failed to take any appropriate action against Mr. Cook. Further, Mr. Monroe was subjected to ridicule and verbal abuse by other co-workers after the incident.

Mr. Monroe filed a written complaint to Matthew Thompson, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Parks and Recreation, Town of Hempstead, three days after the incident. Between May 19 and May 23, 2014, the town conducted an internal investigation of the incident. Mr. Monroe was later told the investigation reached a conclusion but he was not told what the outcome was.

On August 28, 2014, Mr. Monroe filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights, alleging racial discrimination and retaliation. The Division ruled on November 6 that the Town discriminated against Mr. Monroe by denying him a promotion, despite having more experience and longer tenure with the Town.

“We are glad to see that the New York State Division of Human Rights found in favor of our client, who was wrongfully denied a promotion that, based on his experience, hard work and years with the Town, he definitely deserved,” said Mr. Brewington. “By being denied this promotion, he was subjected to humiliation and abuse by his co-workers. Between its failure to reasonably explain why Mr. Monroe was not promoted and having a workforce that is predominantly white, the Town has a horrible track record of providing employment opportunities to African-Americans.”

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