One current and one former employee have filed lawsuits against the City of Rockville, claiming they were discriminated against because they are black.
Courtney L. Morgan, former division chief of inspection services for the city, filed a complaint in Montgomery County Circuit Court April 4, claiming that he was wrongfully fired in whole or in part because of his race and that some of his white subordinates were paid more than him.
“At this point, I think the only way we can resolve this is through litigation,” said Terry Morris, Morgan’s attorney.
Morgan’s case has since been moved to U.S. District Court. A hearing date has not yet been set.
Donald Dorsey, a public works employee, claimed that his white supervisors treated him unfavorably because he is black and retaliated against him for complaining about his mistreatment, according to his complaint filed March 5 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. A scheduling hearing is set for June 7.
In his complaint, Dorsey said that in 2011, a supervisor began wearing a Civil War hat with the Confederate flag on it to work. He also used a Confederate flag cover on his work cellphone, according to the complaint. Dorsey asked the city to stop the supervisor from wearing his Confederate hat to work, but it did not, the complaint said. Although the supervisor eventually stopped wearing the hat to work, he continued to display it on the dashboard of his work vehicle, according to the complaint.
When Dorsey complained again to human resources, the lawsuit said, his supervisors gave him no overtime and or backhoe work, which pay extra, giving the work to white employees instead.
The complaint also said that white employees did not want to work with him and spread lies that Dorsey did not like white people, but the city did not discipline them. In November 2012, the complaint said, employees vandalized Dorsey’s work truck “to intimidate and retaliate him for speaking out about racial discrimination in the workplace.”
Dorsey and his attorney could not be reached for comment Monday.
In May of 2012, the City of Rockville hired the law firm Saul Ewing LLP to investigate employee complaints. The city kept the report confidential, but said it found no unlawful conduct.
Morgan’s complaint said he was not interviewed for Ewing’s investigation, however.
“Saul Ewing conducted a sham investigation into alleged complaints,” Morgan’s suit said, adding that the investigation was “a typical example of the City of Rockville’s custom and policy of inaction in regards to failing to investigate in good faith the complaints of discrimination and harassment filed by employees.”
Both men filed complaints against the city with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission late last year, according to the lawsuits.
City of Rockville Spokeswoman Marylou Berg said the city declined to comment on pending litigation.