Leona Porter recently settled a discrimination lawsuit against the Oklahoma County Clerk’s Office. According to The Oklahoman, the suit claimed Porter was discriminated against for her age and her race.
In January 2017, Porter alleges Oklahoma County Clerk David Hooten began harassing and discriminating against her at work. She stated that he cut her pay and reduced her job duties. Porter also claims Hooten suggested she was too old and sick to do her job. Porter is 77.
Porter was forced to act as greeter
The situation came to a head in March 2017. Hooten asked her to sit in a rocking chair in the entrance of the clerk’s office and serve as a greeter. Porter, who is black, stated she felt like “Aunt Jemima sitting on the porch of the master’s house.”
When she complained about the humiliating treatment, Porter was fired.
Hooten claims Porter had no duties
Hooten has admitted no wrongdoing. He claimed Porter was a ghost employee who had no real duties. He felt justified in firing her because she was making more than $78,000 a year, and he claims she was doing basically nothing. His office was also facing a budget crisis.
Porter has settled for $175,000
A federal judge has approved a $175,000 settlement that Oklahoma County offered to pay Porter. County commissioners came up with the settlement offer last November.
Hooten maintains he did nothing wrong in firing Porter. However, he is facing a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by seven other former employees.
Age and race discrimination is illegal
Discriminating against an employee based on their age, race, sex, nationality, disability, religion or genetic information is illegal based on Oklahoma and federal law. You can file a discrimination complaint with the Oklahoma Office of Civil Rights Enforcement or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you cannot settle your case this way, you may want to contact an employment law attorney that can hold your employer responsible for his or her actions.