CTDOT workers suing department for racial discrimination

Connecticut

(WTNH) — A group of Department of Transportation employees is filing a Discrimination Lawsuit against the department.

This makes the second time the same group of workers is suing.

The first case was withdrawn, but the alleged victims said the racial discrimination has only gotten worse.

Higher-ups at the CTDOT are under fire.

John Williams, civil rights lawyer and attorney for the accusers, said of the situation, “It’s really, really bad.”

CTDOT is accused by some of its black and brown workers in a soon-to-be-refiled federal lawsuit of fostering an environment of racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

“Constant racial insults … disparate treatment,” said Williams. “Both Latinos and African-Americans were treated differently.”

In fact, the initial lawsuit alleged, in part, “The hostile environment has consisted of racially and ethnically derogatory statements,” as well as racial slurs News 8 can’t repeat.

There’s also a claim that “management at the Milford garage regularly refused to provide the same training opportunity” to minorities as it did for white employees.

The plaintiffs were forced to yank the first legal action “because there were some defects in the way the previous lawyer had to go about filing it,” explained Williams.

The workers are now taking their issues before the State Commission on Human Rights before heading back to court.

Meanwhile, Williams said that at least one of his clients is now the victim of retaliation. “In fact,” he said, “at the moment he’s on a paid suspension.”

News 8 reached out to the DOT for comment but only received the obligatory “no comment” because of pending litigation.

Williams said DOT leaders should act now by ordering “sensitivity training at all levels within the agency.”

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