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Wrongful termination suit filed against St. Louis

A former corrections commissioner for St. Louis filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in St. Louis against the city. The suit alleges that he was wrongfully terminated because of his race.

The former commissioner, who is African-American, was removed from duty in 2011 by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Later the next year he was officially terminated. He had first been named acting director in 2003 and became the director in 2007.

The former commissioner's employment discrimination complaint was filed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provision. In it, he alleges that he had "consistently received exemplary performance evaluations and commendations for my work." Problems arose when the man employed as the Mayor's operations director, a police captain for St. Louis, reported problematic issues involving the medium-security level jail's security and business practices. There had allegedly been a rash of jail breakouts and financial irregularities under the commissioner's watch.

The commissioner challenged the veracity of the report and said it was misleading. He went on to note that other employees who were white were allowed to keep their jobs even though they had done the same things for which the commissioner stood wrongly accused.

In August 2012, the Civil Service Commission upheld the decision to terminate him. The former police captain is now Chief of Police for the city, and declined comment.

If you feel that you were wrongfully terminated from your job because of discriminatory practices by your employer, you may have a cause of action to file suit. To make your case stronger, gather evidence of any disciplinary actions which may be unfair or racially motivated and document every exchange you have with supervisors and colleagues.

You may wish to consult with an attorney who is familiar with Missouri employment laws to determine the validity of your claims. You may be able to settle out of court, but failing that, will have competent counsel to take the case to trial if necessary.

Source:, "Fired St. Louis jails chief sues the city, alleges racial bias" Jeremy Kohler, Feb. 10, 2014

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