City of Venice settles racial discrimination lawsuit

City of Venice settles racial discrimination lawsuit
Courtroom gavel (Source: HNN File)

VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - The City of Venice has settled with a former employee, resolving a racial discrimination lawsuit.

The suit alleged that the city violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. James Williamson, 30, said he was frequently disciplined without cause and eventually terminated due to his race.

According to the justice department, the City of Venice “did not have legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for treating Williamson far more harshly in imposing discipline than the city did toward his comparable white coworkers.”

Williamson alleged that he was disciplined nine times over a two-year period.

Williamson said the punishments were predicated on supposed violations of work rules, such as taking normal lunch breaks in public parks. The suit stated that those same rules were never enforced against his white coworkers.

The city ultimately fired Williamson, who was the only Black employee working in the Parks Division of the city’s Public Works Department, without justification. Williamson also said he was the target of racial slurs.

The city has agreed to pay Williamson $195,000 for lost wages.

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