Richmond city employees allege retaliation

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - New allegations launched on Wednesday against Richmond's Department of Public Utilities. Several employees who filed complaints alleging racism and discrimination within the department now say they're being retaliated against for speaking out.

After filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the employees say their jobs are being threatened by management.

The men say two days after they filed complaints with the EEOC they were called into a meeting with management and told their jobs were in jeopardy.

"They're going to evaluate our positions and if we're not up to snuff they're going to give our jobs to contractors," said DPU employee Eric Johnson.

The NAAPC and advocate Sa'ad El-Amin says eight of the ten men involved in the complaint make-up the water maintenance division.

"That means only those who filed complaints regarding the unfair treatment will be impacted," said NAACP Executive Director, King Salim Khalfani.

On Wednesday, the men filed amended copies of their EEOC complaints to include retaliation.

"The question of outsourcing has never been studied and it wasn't presented to city council which would have to approve it. We feel the threat of outsourcing was done to try and keep the men in line," said El-Amin.

In the original EEOC complaint the men claimed they were called racial and sexual slurs by white managers. It goes on to say there are unfair practices when it comes to promotions.

A report from the city confirms many of the allegations. It calls the water distribution department "unorganized and unpleasant."

The DPU employees who filed complaints say they want action.

"Wipe out all those bad promotions. They should be addressing how much money it'll take to return their dignity to them," said El-Amin.

The group has threatened to file a billion dollar lawsuit.

NBC12 reached out to the mayor's office for a comment. City spokesperson Michael Wallace says, "The city does not comment on matters pending litigation."

In the past the city has said it has a zero tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination.

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