Attorney files racial discrimination lawsuit after losing job

Michelle Massey Aug. 23, 2010, 6:55am

Transit Management of Southeast Louisiana's former general counsel Darrel Brown has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against his former employer.

The suit was filed Aug. 9 in federal court in New Orleans.

Brown was general counsel for Transit Management and was responsible for advising directors and officers about legal issues and employment matters.

Brown states the company's legal department, which included three black employees, was downsized. Brown states that all of the employees were immediately terminated. He claims he asked whether he, or any of the other legal department employees, would be reassigned and was told no position was available.

However, Brown states he learned that another attorney who was allegedly less qualified, with less relevant experience was retained as "executive counsel." Brown claims the position did not exist before the downsizing.

Further, Brown states the defendant had another management position available on the day of his termination but it was filled by a white employee who was hired to perform Brown's job duties.

Claiming violations of Title VII, Brown states, "TMSEL's reasons for terminating Plaintiff were a pretext for racial and/or color based discrimination, for not only did TMSEL retain two Caucasian attorneys, but also, hired another one without providing Plaintiff with a fair opportunity to apply for the position."

Brown says Transit Management continues to employ Caucasian or "light complected" individuals in positions for which he was qualified at the time of his termination. He also claims he was discriminated against because he was denied severance pay.

Brown is seeking punitive damages, attorney fees and costs.

Brown is represented by New Orleans attorney Ronald Wilson. A jury trial requested.

U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv02620

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