Ex-federal prosecutor in Huntsville must be rehired, EEOC says
BIRMINGHAM (AP) — The government’s equal employment agency, ruling on a racial discrimination complaint, has ordered U.S. Attorney Alice Martin to rehire a fired assistant prosecutor and her supervisor.
Deirdra Brown-Fleming, a black attorney, was fired in 2002 on grounds that she was “not a team player.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found the reason was “simply unworthy of credence.” Instead, the EEOC found that Brown-Fleming’s firing was retaliatory.
The EEOC said it is unclear whether Martin harbored a racist or sexist attitude toward Brown-Fleming, but found that Martin’s assessment of Brown-Fleming’s relationship with co-workers was tainted with the racist and sexist prejudices of Brown-Fleming’s co-workers.
Brown-Fleming of Huntsville was described as rude and condescending, documents show.
The EEOC ordered the Justice Department to reinstate Brown-Fleming to her former job, with full back pay and other benefits. The amount of back pay was not announced.
The commission also ordered the reinstatement of Brown-Fleming’s former supervisor, Victor Conrad, who took steps to correct acts of racial hostility against Brown-Fleming and filed his own discrimination claim against the agency. He also is to be reinstated with back pay.
In a statement, Martin said Friday the decision to remove Brown-Fleming was “not grounded on impermissible considerations” and she said the Justice Department will ask the EEOC to reconsider its ruling.
“We firmly support equal employment opportunity and combating illegal discrimination in the federal workplace,” Martin said.
Brown-Fleming said that as the first black woman to be hired in the U.S. attorney’s Huntsville office, she became aware of racially hostile activities against her as early as August 1998. She shared her concerns with Conrad, who is white.
Brown-Fleming said Thursday she expects to go back into the practice of law full time, but declined to give specifics.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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