Florida A&M University is a historically black college located in Tallahassee, Florida. The school’s police department, which hired a new police chief in 2013, is being named as the source of rampant discrimination against older employees and white employees, and multiple lawsuits have been filed against the school’s board of directors.
At the heart of the problem is an allegedly hostile workplace that has been created by the new chief, Terence Calloway. Calloway had previously headed the campus police department at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee and a police department in the Village of Woodmere in Ohio. According to one of the attorneys that is representing three of the plaintiffs, “They got a new chief of police. He’s young and bringing in younger officers. He’s weeding out a lot of the older officers, a lot of the white officers.”
Sergeant Michael Hollett has not only filed a claim of religious, race and age discrimination – he has also accused the school of having violated the state’s Whistleblower Act, which aims at protecting those who file complaints about discrimination. Hollett was fired from his job at the school after 17 years on the force, and claims that he was treated “less favorably than similarly situated African-American officers.” His claim indicates that when he filed a grievance with the university regarding the hostile work environment – citing having been issued inferior equipment, having been denied training and opportunities to earn overtime pay, and having been the victim of unwarranted reprimands and false complaints entered into his disciplinary record – he was punished. He indicates that his complaint resulted in retaliation and threats, being moved to lower paying shifts, having his schedule changed repeatedly and being asked to work with no pay.
Hollett is one among many that have filed complaints. Another plaintiff, a 60-year old African American woman who has worked for the university for 28 years, indicates that she is the victim of wrongful constructive termination, which she claims was motivated by a bias against her gender, age, and a hearing impairment from which she suffers. Sandra Floyd’s case also reports a violation of whistleblower regulations, indicating that her problems began after she reported sexual harassment. Another 60-year old woman who worked for the school for 15 years indicates that she was fired after reporting a hostile work environment as well. There are at least two other discrimination lawsuits that are said to be being prepared.
If you have been the subject of workplace discrimination based on your race, and/or you have been punished or retaliated against as a result, then you need an experienced and knowledgeable advocate like the employment law attorneys at Schorr & Associates working on your behalf.