BRIDGEPORT — A dispatcher for the city of Bridgeport — who is also a retired Bridgeport police detective — is suing the city, claiming he was forced to work in a “racially hostile work environment.”
Dwayne McBride was hired as a dispatcher/telecommunicator for Bridgeport in February 2012, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday and also mentions that he is a retired Bridgeport police detective. The suit does not indicate the years in which McBride served on the police force.
The lawsuit describes McBride as African-American, and says he was subjected to “unnecessary intensive micromanaging by his supervisors which interfered with his productivity and performance,” adding that it was unlike supervision of white telecommunicators in similar positions.
On Feb. 26, 2018, McBride was disciplined for “reading an online article from the Connecticut Post,” according to the lawsuit. It goes on to claim various other dispatchers played online poke or solitaire, video games and watched movies and sporting events without being disciplined. The suit claims those other employees are white.
Bridgeport officials said the city does not comment on pending litigation.
On May 23, 2017, the lawsuit said, McBride filed a complaint against Bridgeport with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in which he alleged the city “subjected him to discrimination because of his race.”
The lawsuit claims that after filing the complaint, he was “closely scrutinized, monitored, disciplined for actions … coworkers are not, and (his) time off requests have been denied.”
In March 2018, McBride filed a grievance, according to the suit. It’s unclear with whom the grievance was filed. On April 9, 2018, it was denied.
Despite the denial, the lawsuit said, a “confidential investigation” into McBride’s complaints was launched. The suit says that McBride has not received any additional information about the outcome of the investigation or its findings.
More recently, on July 15, the suit alleges, a supervisor “asserted to the plaintiff that he would feel comfortable in taking a cruise with a predominately African American clientele, not because of his lack of prejudice, but because he could color his skin black, even going so far as to demonstrate his meaning by coloring the back of his hand black with a magic marker.”
The suit claims McBride explained to the supervisor why those actions were inappropriate, which eventually led to an apology.
“The plaintiff (McBride) continues to perform his job duties in a competent manner,” the lawsuit said.
The suit asks for “Equitable relief of lost pay and benefits … equitable relief of front pay until he reaches retirement eligibility … compensatory damages, including monetary damages for the emotional distress suffered by the plaintiff … costs and attorney fees” and any other further relief the court sees fit.
McBride is asking for a trial by jury.