Louisiana residents may find it interesting to know that heads of the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner as well as the ATC Office of the Commissioner have had a lawsuit filed against them in District Court alleging racial discrimination in the workplace.

The lawsuit has been filed jointly by three African-American employees who worked under the ATC Commissioner. In addition to the lawsuit each of the three individuals also filed separate Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints. In the lawsuit they allege that the current ATC Commissioner systematically worked to make their working conditions so intolerable that some had to take medical leave. In at least one case one employee felt that they had no recourse but to quit altogether.

In the lawsuit the plaintiffs list a number of instances that they allege detail the commissioner’s bias towards them. The lawsuit notes that they were required to maintain a detailed record of how many miles they drove while Caucasian colleagues were asked not to. Furthermore, in another instance, during an internal investigation, the African-American employees were searched but the Caucasian employees were not. According to the lawsuit, there were at least five African-American supervisors working at the ATC before the commissioner assumed his office in late 2010, and currently there are none.

When asked for comment, the ATC Commissioner denied any wrongdoing on his part and insisted that he did not ask any more of the plaintiffs filing the suit than he did of any other supervisors working at the same time. He also indicated that of the three plaintiffs one had actually retired, while another ended up working for another state agency while a third still actually works at the ATC.

If the allegations are true, it is unfortunate that such incidents of employment and racial discrimination still occur in the workplace, especially when employment law forbids such discrimination. In such cases, seeking the legal expertise of an employment litigation law firm may help since employment law can get complex and one may need to mediate the situation.

Source: The Advertiser, “Lawsuits charge discrimination by Troy Hebert, ATC commissioner,” Mike Hastenmhasten, July 20, 2014