Court rules racial discrimination case against Ulster Co. can go forward
Nov 05, 2019 12:45 pm
Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman a federal appeals court has reinstated a racial discrimination lawsuit brought against Ulster County by five current and former corrections officers at the county jail, ruling there was enough evidence to allow the case to go to trial. The decision reverses a dismissal of the case by a lower court. The appellate court did uphold the lower court's decision to dismiss the claims against individual corrections officers, as well as the former county Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum. The employment discrimination lawsuit was filed in August 2016, on behalf of four men and one woman, all of whom are black. The plaintiffs claimed they were repeatedly subjected to or witnessed overt racial hostility, including being subjected to racial slurs and epithets. They also alleged they were passed over for promotion, which were instead given to white officers with less seniority. In reinstating the action, the appeals court found there existed significant evidence of racially derogatory language from co-workers and supervisors. The slurs used were egregious and made frequently, the court said. In a joint statement, attorneys for the plaintiffs said they look forward to presenting the case to a federal jury. "This decision reminds us that racism has no place in a public facility," they said. "... The racial harassment at the Ulster County Jail was extensive." Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.