HOUSTON - Houston resident Chatauqua Allen alleges she experienced racial discrimination when she was employed by the city of Houston's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care.
A lawsuit filed against the city Oct. 3 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas claims Allen, a female of African American descent, and others like her were treated poorly compared to their non-black counterparts.
The defendant hired Allen to the agency in question in July 2009.
Court papers explain the plaintiff received a promotion to the position of administrative coordinator three months later and assumed a supervisor role the next only to be demoted to community involvement coordinator in March 2010.
Allen says Alfred Moran, the director of the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, "made the vague, unsupported and inaccurate assertion that (her) performance was unsatisfactory."
Meanwhile, according to the original petition, there were non-African American BARC supervisors "who engaged in demonstrable misconduct or with a record of poor performance who were not demoted, or who may have lost a title, but there was no loss in pay."
They and the plaintiff were excluded from meetings, left out of decision-making processes and impacted negatively as BARC employees, the suit states.
Allen filed complaints on what she believed were "cases of racial discrimination and a pattern to divide and discriminatory conquer" with Mayor Annise Parker's office.
She requested that Parker not to "divert the complaint back to ARA leadership," however, the latter and another agency asked Moran, who is named not a defendant, to handle the complaint, the suit says.
It further shows Allen met with Moran, who purportedly made thinly veiled threats and offered "hush money," sometime in the spring of 2010 and "continued to suffer at BARC and was essentially forced to accept employment in another city department where the effects of the demotion continued."
A formal complaint she fielded was left unanswered as of September 2010, the suit says.
A jury trial is requested.
Attorney Martin Shellist with Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP in Houston is representing Allen.
Case No. 4:12-cv-2950