Black, Latino 911 Dispatchers File Discrimination Suit

Black, Latino 911 Dispatchers File Discrimination Suit

Three women who worked at a Pennsylvania 911 center have accused their bosses of racial discrimination.

Published November 20, 2014

Three women of color who worked at a western Pennsylvania 911 center have recently filed separate lawsuits accusing their supervisors of racial discrimination, AP reports.

Of the three Allegheny County dispatchers, Ruby Helvy and Dapree Thompson are Black and Kelli Rodriguez is Hispanic. They are seeking back pay and punitive and emotional damages.

Helvy, 47, claimed she had been suspended seven times between January 2013 and last month for reasons such as not being at her desk during a call and canceling a call, Tribweb.com reports. Yet, her white counterparts were not disciplined for “similar transgressions,” she added.

According to AP, one of the women also said Black dispatchers were instructed to answer calls from inner city residents because they knew how to “speak ghetto.”

Rodriguez, who alleged her training supervisor sexually harassed and discriminated against her because of her race, reportedly complained to County Council in January. But, when asked about his previous call for an investigation into the matter, Councilman James Ellenbogen said he was unaware if one had been launched by county employees.

Thompson, the third dispatcher, said she had not ever been given staff members to train despite being a lead trainer for three years, AP reports. She also accused her supervisors of requiring her to work overtime while her white co-workers were permitted to leave.

The county's solicitor has reportedly declined to comment.

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 (Photo: Terry Moore/Stocktrek Images/Corbis)

Written by Patrice Peck

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