- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) - A $1.75 million settlement in a racial discrimination lawsuit continues to have a ripple effect in a central New Jersey town.

Gannett New Jersey (https://bit.ly/1HsJICf) reports the lawsuit resulted in the firing of one Somerville borough supervisor. The settlement also requires the borough to hold anti-discrimination training annually and establish a diversity committee that will meet every two months.

The committee must include at least one of the three plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit.

Mayor Brian Gallagher said the committee has held two meetings and is working on developing short- and long-term goals.

“As the town changes, as the town grows, we need to be aware of the different needs and how we can include more folks into the process,” Gallagher told Gannett.

The three plaintiffs, all of whom are black, said they had been subjected to a racially hostile and “toxic racist” work environment for more than two decades. They said a supervisor “routinely” addressed them and other black public works worker by racial slurs. They also said they were unfairly denied job promotions and then retaliated against when they complained. Top-ranking borough officials did little or nothing to stop the abuse, the lawsuit claimed.

Somerville is about 24 percent Hispanic and 12 percent black.

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