Texas Firefighter Fights Back Against Racial Discrimination

Many of us have made the three-hour trek west from Houston to get to Austin, one of the best music cities in America. But a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Austin fire cadet might have the capital of Texas singing the blues.

The former cadet is African American. His employment was terminated two years ago after he said the city’s fire department "steadfastly put up road blocks in an attempt to make his academy experience so difficult that he would quit." He also alleges in his suit that a supervisor told him that he would not even be in the academy if not for an agreement between the Fire Department and U.S. Justice Department to improve the department’s hiring practices.

City officials counter that the former cadet was discharged from the academy’s six-month cadet training program because of "a pattern of poor performance."

He had joined the Austin Fire Department after the department agreed to improve hiring practices after federal investigators determined that its previous process discriminated against Hispanic and African American candidates.

According to a news article, the firefighter had left a position in the nearby Cedar Park Fire Department to join the Austin force.

In his lawsuit, the plaintiff states that immediately after his arrival at the academy, he “began to notice that he was not receiving the same treatment in comparison to his non-African American cadets in the Academy." He says that despite similar performances on tests, he received lower scores and appraisals than the others.

After he complained about the discrepancy, a team lead called him a “troublemaker” who would learn that complaining about discrimination “would be futile.”

It’s never a waste of time to right a wrong or stop injustice.

If you face workplace discrimination because of your race, gender, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or pregnancy, contact an attorney experienced in employment law litigation.