The New York City Department of Transportation is accused of racial discrimination against minority employees within its Fleet Services unit, according to a lawsuit filed this month by Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Politico reported that top managers overseeing fleet services used derogatory language and targeted some employees based on their race from as far back as 2007.
In the complaint provided by Politico, examples of discrimination from two executive directors of Fleet Services include:
- Demotion of an African-American assistant supervisor to the mechanic role, calling the African-American deputy commissioners who had given him the role “monkeys,” and forcing the assistant supervisor out of the position after his direct supervisor refused to remove him from the post.
- Routinely using racial epithets to refer to African-American employees.
- Routinely and systematically excluding minorities from preferred assignments and special projects, handpicking white candidates for assignments that provided the best opportunity for further advancement.
- Selecting less experienced white candidates for promotions over minority candidates, and changing the hiring process in one instance to exclude a minority candidate.
- Discontinuing overtime for a supervisor (while allowing everyone else to continue working overtime hours) in retaliation for critiquing the discriminatory hiring process.
- Physically threatening a blacksmith who critiqued discriminatory treatment and hiring practices.
The Fleet Services subdivision employs about 200 people, including machinists, auto mechanics, electricians, blacksmiths, and engineers.