NO Port Board of Commissioners sued over racial discrimination claims

Michelle Massey Jan. 4, 2011, 3:12am

Claiming racial discrimination and retaliation, Frederick H. Brown filed suit against his employer Board of Commissioners, Port of New Orleans on Dec. 16 in federal court in New Orleans.

Brown, a dark complected African-American, states he requested a 5 percent pay increase in August and November 2006, after learning a white female received the pay increase. His request was denied.

Prior to his request, he states his supervisor allegedly stated that lighter-skinned employees were more likely to be promoted and referred to Brown as "chocolate cake."

Brown filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In March 2007, he requested the pay increase a second time but was denied. According to his complaint, a light-skinned African-American was given the pay raise.

Brown alleges he applied for a promotion in April 2007 but was not selected. He states his supervisor initiated and substituted her own oral question and answer test for the written test administered and scored by Civil Service. He states his score dropped from 104 to 37. Brown alleges that his non-selection for promotion was in retaliation for filing the discrimination charge in 2006.

In August 2007, Brown was notified that as a result of the review of his manager position job description he had been downgraded to a Contracts/Grant Reviewer. Brown states the new position was a downgrade.

He is asking the court for an award of a back pay raise, promotion, retroactive promotion and damages for emotional distress, attorney fees and costs.

Brown is represented by Metairie attorney J. Courtney Wilson. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10-cv-04564

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