The City of Houston is being sued for racial discrimination, reports the Southeast Texas Record.
Chatauqya Allen is claiming that the city's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care treated her poorly when she was employed by them.
According to the complaint, Allen was promoted twice, before being shuffled around to the role of community involvement coordinator-- a role she claimed was a demotion from her previous role as supervisor.
Her supervisors claimed that this demotion was due to job performance; an assertion that she claims was unsupported.
Her complaint goes on to say that there were non-African American managers who engaged in bad conduct and had a record of poor performance. These managers were not necessarily demoted, she claims.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race or color.
This discrimination relates to the hiring, termination or promotion of any employee. It also relates to any other privilege of employment.
Proving racial discrimination isn't always that easy. Once the case goes to court, the employee needs to prove that the elements of a racial discrimination case are met. The employee must belong to a protected class (i.e. a class based on race) and the employee must show that she had been passed up for the promotion (or demoted), while others of a different race and comparable in work to her were not demoted.
The next step would be for the employer to show "pretext," essentially, that the demotion was not because of race.
That's where the claim often fails. It's very hard to show pretext.
In this case, Allen has an uphill battle. While she may be able to prove that she was demoted, her employer can rebut that it was due to her performance.
If she's lucky, the case will settle out of court, the way many employment cases settle.