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NC Lawsuit Charges PWC with Racial Discrimination

An 11-year employee who was fired from the Public Works Commission (PWC) in Fayetteville last October has filed a lawsuit against the utility, accusing them of racial discrimination.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that 31-year-old Adrian Blackwell filed the suit in U.S. District Court, which accuses the Fayetteville PWC of favoring white employees. Blackwell states that he was discharged because he is black, and that the PWC unfairly treats black employees.

Blackwell was a loss control specialist for PWC at the time he was fired, a job which involved investigating meter fraud. Prior to filing the lawsuit, he and his lawyer attempted to settle with the utility, sending a letter to the company’s general manager, Steve Blanchard, that read in part, “I believe it would be best for all parties to discuss a resolution of this case before it becomes one of public record,” according to the Observer, which obtained a copy of the letter.

A settlement was not reached, and the lawsuit requests a jury trial to seek not only compensation, punitive damage, and other fees, but also a statement from PWC declaring that the company intentionally discriminated against Blackwell due to his race.

The decision to fire Blackwell came from Blanchard, who wrote in a letter defending his decision that Blackwell had made several late payments to PWC for his water and sewer bill and claiming he had tampered with the water meter at his home, which amounts to theft.

The lawsuit denies accusations of theft against Blackwell. It also states that four white employees of PWC were caught falsifying their time sheets, which is theft, but were only given five-day suspensions. Blanchard and the majority of managers and senior-level executives at PWC are white.

If you or a loved one is wrongfully fired or denied worker’s compensation, our Raleigh personal injury attorneys may be able to help you. We are able to represent workers who face discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Contact Kelly & West to discuss the details of your case today.

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