Four Discrimination Lawsuits Remain Against City
The City of Ithaca is striking out in its attempts to derail a series of discrimination lawsuits capable of draining government coffers.
Spanning the Ithaca Police Department, the Ithaca Fire Department and city inspections, legal challenges to the city of around $30 million are getting the green light from courtrooms.
On May 15, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe of the Northern District of New York in Syracuse ruled a $10.5 million lawsuit brought by Ithaca Police Sgt. Douglas Wright "contains facts sufficient to state a plausible race discrimination claim."
Wright, a Caucasian, alleges he was passed over for the lieutenant's spot because of his race. Ithaca Police Chief Edward Vallely instead appointed Marlon Byrd, a black IPD officer.
In his lawsuit, Wright claims Vallely told him he needed to "show clear and convincing evidence why you are the better candidate; otherwise, I have to promote Marlon."
In another case, a discrimination case alleged by a 15-year-veteran of the City of Ithaca Fire Department against the city was ordered to proceed.
Former firefighter Mark Hassan's "has plausibly alleged claims of employment discrimination and a hostile work environment." Hassan claims he was fired from his position in 2011 after he complained of discrimination, including being called "towel head" and "dune coon," among other epithets. Last Updated on 01 June 2012
By Ed Sutherland