RACINE — A Racine employee alleges his city staff coworkers discriminated against him because of his age and race in a lawsuit filed this month in U.S. District Court.

James Draper, 55, is suing the City of Racine — his employer — claiming he has faced unfair treatment. Draper, who is African-American, the lawsuit states, started working for the city as an engineering aide in 2008. He alleges in court records that he began to face discrimination in 2011, when a younger, white coworker began directing “profanity and disparaging remarks at Draper in the workplace,” the records state. The records do not identify the content of the remarks.

A supervisor did not try to remedy the issue, the suit alleges. Draper further claims that the supervisor subjected him to different terms of employment than his coworkers, such as “disparate testing requirements, subjecting Draper to disparate promotional opportunities (and) issuing Draper unwarranted poor job performance ratings.”

Draper also alleges the city placed him on administrative leave after he became injured at work by “being required to perform work intended for two or more workers.” When he returned, the suit claims, Draper’s workplace was changed from his previous second-floor office to a ground-floor cage that had been used for tool storage. He claims the city also changed his job description to a utility worker, which he objected to, the records state.

Draper filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in January of 2016, the records state. He argues in the suit that the treatment he faced was retaliation for objecting to illegal discrimination. The EEOC dismissed the claim; records show the agency was “unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes.”

Draper requested a jury trial. He has also asked the court to order the city to compensate him an unspecified amount of back pay with interest, among other requests.

City Attorney Scott Letteney declined to comment on the allegations and lawsuit.

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Reporter

Sari Lesk covers the City of Racine, Gateway and UW-Parkside. She is new to the community and moonlights as an amateur baker.

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