FEMA specialist claims workplace discrimination, sues Homeland Security

Carol Ostrow May 12, 2015, 7:55am


A woman brought suit against a federal agency head on grounds of alleged wrongful termination in 2013.

Josephine Cruz filed a complaint against Jed Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas May 1, claiming discrimination in a March 2013 matter.

Cruz was hired to work for FEMA in 2008 as a Human Services Specialist in the agency’s Denton location. The suit states that she was subjected to a hostile work environment, including retaliatory actions by her supervisors, based on her national origin (Hispanic) and allegedly for engaging in protected activity.

According to court documents, Cruz was terminated on March 9, 2013 after reporting her allegations to the EEO office at FEMA. The complaint asserts that the reasons given to her were pretextual in nature as she alleges that she had performed her job adequately.

The plaintiff unsuccessfully appealed her dismissal with the EEOC, receiving a final denial on Feb. 2, 2015. Citing violation of her civil rights, she claims emotional anguish, lost wages and benefits, and loss of earning capacity.

Cruz seeks compensatory damages; front and back pay; reinstatement; attorney’s fees; expenses, and costs. Cruz is represented by attorney John Richards of Richards and Valdez in Dallas.

Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas Case 4:15-cv-00302-ALM

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