Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Alleging Race Discrimination Against the City of Marion, Arkansas

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement with the city of Marion, Ark., that, if approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, will resolve the department’s lawsuit against the city alleging race discrimination in employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin or religion.

The department’s complaint, filed in May 2009, alleges that the city discriminated against Stacy D. Allen, an African-American and a former part-time patrol officer in the city’s police department, when it did not appoint him as a full-time patrol officer. The complaint alleges that the police department had a history of appointing the most senior part-time patrol officer as a full-time officer when a full-time position became available. However, when Allen, who was the city’s only African-American patrol officer, became the most senior part-time patrol officer and two full-time positions opened, the city appointed two less senior white part-time patrol officers to those positions instead of Allen. The Justice Department’s complaint was based on a charge of discrimination filed by Allen with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"All Americans are guaranteed the right to know that they can pursue their career of choice without fear of discrimination based on their race," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "Title VII protects individuals, such as Mr. Allen, from having to suffer discrimination in the workplace. The Justice Department will take swift action against those employers who engage in discrimination, and we appreciate the partnership of the EEOC in these matters."

The settlement agreement requires that the city not discriminate against on the basis of race, or in any way adversely affect the terms and conditions of employment of, any applicant or person employed in the city’s police department. The agreement also requires that the city provide Allen with a monetary award of $16,000 ($2,250 in back pay and $13,750 in compensatory damages).