Favorite

Discrimination among staff of federal prison 

Forrest City institution guilty, administrative judge says.

2006_6-13_14-17-26-572.jpg


A federal prison at Forrest City unlawfully discriminated against a black employee, an administrative judge for the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled.

In a scalding decision, the administrative judge, David R. Treeter, said that officials of the Forrest City Federal Correctional Institution knew that the institution’s facilities manager, Rickey Martin, was the victim of racial harassment, but did nothing to stop it. Instead, Treeter wrote, “the Agency’s focus has been on punishing Martin, not the resolution of the racial problems.” He ordered the federal Bureau of Prisons to pay Martin $50,000 in damages, and $82,450 in attorney’s fees to Sam T. Heuer of Little Rock, Martin’s lawyer.

Among Treeter’s findings of fact:

• “A group of [white] employees in the facilities department, Jody Cook, Jeff Roberts and Ray Anthony, harassed meetings that were conducted by Martin. These interruptions occurred on a daily basis. … Anytime Martin was speaking, the White employees caused a disruption, but when one of the White managers was speaking, the White employees quieted and listened.”

• “On June 18, 2003, Martin experienced difficulty with Cook refusing to allow an inmate to report to a meeting. Martin issued instructions that the inmate was to go where he was scheduled. Later that day, Cook and Roberts came to Martin’s office and kicked the door, stating that they wanted to talk to Martin. Cook complained about Martin issuing orders regarding the detail Cook was running. During the confrontation, Cook shook a detail pouch in Martin’s face, grazing his nose with the pouch. Martin reported the incident to the Associate Warden. Two weeks later, [Warden Cole] Jeter instructed Martin to report to the infirmary to have his nose treated.”

• “Martin was the only manager who was required to have his log entries approved by the Associate Warden.”

• “Under Jeter, Martin had to schedule meetings with the Warden while other department heads were permitted to visit the Warden’s office without appointments.”

• “The management at Forrest City chose to ignore the long history of racial problems among employees at the institution.”

In all, Treeter made 37 such findings. He also wrote that “The Administrative Judge finds that the witnesses advocating the Agency’s position are, for a variety of reasons, not credible. Both the demeanor of the witnesses and the lack of consistency in their testimony cause concern here.”

A hearing on Martin’s complaint against the Justice Department was held last December in Forrest City. Treeter’s decision is dated April 19.

Heuer said this week that Martin was still at the prison but had been demoted to correctional officer (guard). Martin is fighting the demotion too, Heuer said, but without success so far. Jeter, the white male warden who was much criticized in Treeter’s decision, has been replaced by a black woman.

And the Department of Justice, representing the Bureau of Prisons, last week appealed part of Treeter’s decision to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Office of Federal Operations. The Justice Department said the award of $50,000 to Martin was too much, and the amount should be reduced to $20,000. The department did not challenge the rest of the decision, including the $82,450 payment to Heuer.

In its appeal, the Justice Department said the award to Martin should be reduced because he “suffered emotional harm not only from the harassment, but also from other independent factors. For example, Warden Morrison testified that complainant’s mother ‘has been real sick and subsequently passed away.’ If [Martin’s] emotional stress was affected by his mother’s poor health and subsequent death, then this added stress is not compensable because it has nothing to do with the discrimination he suffered.”




Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Asa on pre-K

    • Aug 17, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

  • Righting Governor's School

    Summer program at Hendrix targeted once more.
    • Feb 22, 2018
  • Special legislative session could make Arkansas first to regulate pharmacy benefit managers

    On Monday afternoon, Governor Hutchinson said he would call a special session of the Arkansas legislature to address low reimbursement rates provided to pharmacies by middleman companies called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs.
    • Feb 19, 2018
  • Pharmacy reimbursement fight prompts special session call

    Since Jan. 1, Brandon Cooper, a pharmacist at Soo’s Drug Store in Jonesboro, has turned away a number of patients seeking to fill routine prescriptions. The problem is not that the pharmacy lacks the drugs in question or that the patients don’t have insurance, Cooper said. It’s that the state’s largest insurance carrier, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, recently changed the way it pays for pharmaceuticals.
    • Feb 18, 2018
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28  

Most Viewed

  • Bitter pill

    Arkansas is second in the nation when it comes to opioid prescription rates. Those numbers are edging down, but some say the worst of the epidemic may be yet to come.
  • Special legislative session could make Arkansas first to regulate pharmacy benefit managers

    On Monday afternoon, Governor Hutchinson said he would call a special session of the Arkansas legislature to address low reimbursement rates provided to pharmacies by middleman companies called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs.
  • Righting Governor's School

    Summer program at Hendrix targeted once more.
  • Hemp hurdles

    Questions raised by Governor Hutchinson about whether regulations for industrial hemp research conflict with federal law and other queries have apparently slowed progress toward the implementation of the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act.
  • French Hill on patriotism

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Righting Governor's School

    • I am very grateful my daughter was able to attend Governor's School as something that…

    • on February 22, 2018
  • Re: You can learn a lot in drug court

    • Can you please define the term "mental shortcomings"? By whom, with whom, from whom? The…

    • on February 22, 2018
  • Re: You can learn a lot in drug court

    • She tries to tell you what medicine u can take that the doctor gives u…

    • on February 21, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation