There's an old saying that actions speak louder than words. That saying appears to have been one of the crucial factors in a recent racial discrimination court case decided far from us in Milwaukee.
During the six-day trial, the director of personnel for the city of Brockton, Massachusetts, stated emphatically that she had never assisted particular applicants for jobs with the city's Department of Public Works. But employment law attorneys for the plaintiff made it clear to the jury that the director's behind-the-scenes actions were louder than her words in court.
The jury decided against the city in the case. According to a media report, the victim of racial discrimination could be awarded $4 million.
He is a former Brockton resident who applied for a diesel mechanic job. The media report states that he is black and originally from Cape Verdean.
The plaintiff's attorney told the jury that the city "did everything they could to favor the white applicants."
The lawyer showed the jury an email exchange between the personnel director and a white applicant for the job, in which the director coached the applicant, telling him to get a reference letter from a former employer. The white applicant was apparently approved for the position until the director realized the man did not possess a required driver's license.
Another disturbing revelation from the trial: after the plaintiff complained publically about his treatment by the city, a city fire department inspector and police officer showed up at his house the next day to conduct an investigation for code violations.
The attorney also presented evidence that showed that the city even sent differently worded rejection letters to white and black applicants as well.
The jury responded to the evidence and arguments presented and the plaintiff has gotten the justice he sought.