- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

INDEPENDENCE, La. (AP) - The head of the Tangipahoa Parish chapter of the NAACP has filed a lawsuit against the town of Independence and its mayor for wrongful termination, claiming she was let go in 2013 because of her race.

Patricia Morris said she worked as a clerk for the town’s sewer and water department for six months before Mayor Michael Ragusa said he could no longer afford to keep her. Morris, who is black, alleges in her lawsuit that Ragusa, who is white, hired a new superintendent for the department as well as a clerk, both white, soon after her Oct. 24 termination.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1kvnB3y ) Morris’ lawsuit was filed in federal court in New Orleans.

Morris’ lawsuit alleges her termination and treatment were racially discriminatory, intentional, malicious or recklessly indifferent and a violation of her civil rights under federal law.

She seeks medical expenses for anguish and depression, back pay, reinstatement or front-pay, punitive damages and attorney fees and costs.

Town attorney Brett Duncan said Tuesday the town had not yet been served with the lawsuit but acknowledged the issue had been the subject of an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In her complaint, Morris said the clerk position she held had been advertised as a full-time position with benefits, but that she was never given full-time hours or benefits.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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