Housing authority employee claims racial discrimination

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 16, 2011, 4:00am

GALVESTON - Houston resident Christina J. Allen-Crowder alleges race to be a factor in her termination last year from an administrative position with the Galveston Housing Authority.

A lawsuit filed Aug. 8 in Galveston County District Court argues that Allen-Crowder, an African-American, complained internally about discrimination from then-GHA Executive Director Harish Krishnarao only to be fired.

The plaintiff served as the defendant's Disaster Housing Assistance Program Director from Sept. 14, 2009, to Nov. 29, 2010.

She received a promotion and was given an additional title of Housing Choice Voucher Program Director about two months prior to her alleged dismissal.

Court papers show Krishnarao "treated the plaintiff differently from the other directors" from the beginning of her employment.

According to the original petition, Allen-Crowder "was routinely paraded during professional meetings and seminars and touted for her background and accomplishments as an African-American female."

The complainant originally accepted the behavior as the executive director's acknowledgment of her abilities and accomplishments, but eventually noticed the latter exhibited preferential treatment toward the other directors, the suit says.

Allen-Crowder states that Krishnarao permitted her counterparts to fully supervise and discipline their staff while rebuffing her attempts to discuss with him her department's needs and requirements.

Her complaints about such behavior were to no avail, prompting her to file an internal grievance in October 2010, the suit says.

The plaintiff was fired for poor job performance a month later.

She insists her work record showed no proof of "any warnings, admonitions or complaints of poor performance," claiming her dismissal was retaliatory and race-based.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

The Law Offices of Filteau & Sullivan, Ltd. LLP is representing Allen-Crowder, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 11-cv-1286

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