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Government Discrimination

Olympia, WA: (Apr-02-08) Randy Davis of University Place, a longtime Department of Ecology worker, brought a lawsuit against the state of Washington, alleging that he was denied promotion because he is black. Davis filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, stating that he was discriminated against on the basis of race. The complaint spurred an investigation, where the department conducted a study of its minority hiring and promotion. That study found people of color made up 10% of its work force, which is equal to what's outlined in its affirmative action plan, but below the 17% population in the general government work force.

Records testify that Davis, 58, became a level three environmental planner in the agency's Olympia-area headquarters in 1987. A lead shoreline management planner, he asked to be reclassified as a level four planner in 1996 and was turned down. Davis then filed suit in 2004, stating that supervisors promoted several white planners at the same time Davis was denied a new title. For the next seven years, Davis worked within the state system to challenge his status.

As part of a settlement reached, the state agreed to pay Davis $700,000 to resolve his discrimination claim. Department of Ecology spokesman Dave Workman claimed that the dispute had gone on for over a decade. He said that it was in the best interests to settle the dispute, rather than risk the cost of litigation. Davis agreed to resign and received a letter of recommendation from the agency as part of the settlement. [THE OLYMPIAN: ECOLOGY SETTLES DISCRIMINATION SUIT]

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Published on Apr-4-08


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