Lawsuit: Black D.C. Gov. Workers Got ‘Honkey’ Boss Fired

Evan Gahr, Daily Caller, July 28, 2015

Nobody is immune to bigotry. Blacks are just as capable of being prejudiced as whites and acting on it.

Just ask a white male named Christopher Lyons.

Lyons claims in an explosive but little noticed federal lawsuit that he was fired as a District of Columbia Department of Public Works supervisor because black employees did not want to work for a “honkey,” as they repeatedly called him. Lyons says he was ousted for blowing the whistle on on fraud and waste at the DPW.

Lyons’ complaint against the DPW, which handles trash collection and enforces parking regulations in the District, includes a two page chart describing all the racial harassment he allegedly endured from black workers–as the DPW’s director, also black, looked the other way.

Lyons finally got the boot after just eight months on the job without explanation. But one employee certainly wished him a bon voyage. The day he was fired somebody posted a sign on Lyons’ door that said, “Get out white boy.”

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The abuse started soon after Lyons went to work in January, 2012 for the DPW as deputy administrator for “fleet management,” which, as you might gather from the name, involves overseeing all D.C. government vehicles. He was the only white supervisor at the DPW and apparently the first one ever at the Fleet division.

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Indeed, all the other workers in the fleet division were black, and if the allegations are correct, they almost immediately resented their new “honkey” boss.

When Lyons addressed black workers at his first Fleet staff meeting in March 2012, garage mechanics called him a “cracker,” “white boy,” and “honkey,” the lawsuit says.

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–At an April 2012 meeting Smith was called “whitey.”

–But folks got a little more sensitive on May 9, 2012. Somebody said he should be called “white man” not “white boy.”

–On May 15, 2012, black employees told Lyons they could not work for a “honkey.”

–On June 8, 2012, a tire shop supervisor, upset at taking orders from Smith, yelled that he was sick of this “honkey” stuff.

–On July 12, another black worker vowed he would not take orders from a “white boy.”

The lawsuit says DPW Director Bill Howland was informed of the racist abuse by an HR official, but he did nothing.

Well, nothing but axe Lyons without explanation in August 2012.

According to the lawsuit, black employees pressured director Howland to cut Lyons loose because they did not want a white supervisor.

Howland told Lyons, who had received good reviews, that his dismissal was “not performance related,” according to the lawsuit. Howland, interestingly, resigned in May after 11 years on the job without giving an explanation.

After Lyons filed a complaint with the D.C. Human Rights Commission, the DPW claimed Lyons was fired for not meeting “performance metrics,” like the turnaround time for car repairs.

Lyons sued the District and the Department of Public Works in May, 2014 for racial discrimination.

The District’s rebuttal to the discrimination claim was essentially, “Even if Lyons was called a honkey that is not why he got fired.”

Or as D.C. Assistant Attorney General Sarah Knapp argued in court papers: “If an impermissible factor was used in taking an employment action against the Plaintiff, the District would have taken the same employment action as was taken against Plaintiff in the absence of the use of the alleged impermissible factor.”

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Last week, D.C. filed a motion for summary judgment on the whistleblower claim only, saying it was filed after the statute of limitations ran out. That means even if the judge rules in the District’s favor about the whistleblower allegation the race discrimination claim is headed for trial, says Morris Fischer, the lawyer for Lyons.

Fischer recognizes his client has an unusual case. Discrimination against whites is not part of the media, cultural and political zeitgeist.

“You have to stand up for what’s right, even if it’s politically unpopular,” he told The Mirror.

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