Is the city of Augusta doing more to keep from paying more in lawsuits?

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News 12 First at Five/ Wednesday , June 11, 2014

Augusta, Ga (WRDW)----- Augusta Commissioners could vote to give a city employee back pay for extra work done for over two years. We've learned the case is just one of many sitting in the city's law department.

William Dickerson has been fighting fires for more than 25 years. He's even saved a fellow firefighter's life. "They presented me this award for saving him. He might have died," said Richmond County Firefighter William Dickerson.

Dickerson's next fight involves an attorney instead of a water hose. He is suing Augusta Richmond County for racial discrimination.
His lawsuit claims Former Richmond County Fire-chief Howard Willis promoted firefighters using a list.

Once it was his turn to be promoted, management denied it. Dickerson says he was told the list was expired and he was not eligible. "If I was to win, I would be promoted to captain and I would be paid back pay and damages probably," said Dickerson.

Utilities Worker James Henry says he was assigned more duties and wasn't paid according to his level of work. The city's EEO office investigated both Henry and Dickerson's cases and found corrective action was needed.

News 12 has learned the law department stopped any action.
"We're trying to make sure whatever we can do on this level we go ahead and address it," said Commissioner Corey Johnson.

The EEO Director Jacqulyn Humphrey tells 12, they're at least 10 cases that could've been settled on the county level. They weren't and now those 10 have turned into lawsuits and could cost the county thousands.

"It's unfortunate that it got to this point with any employee. It happens from time to time and we do fall short in departments," said Commissioner Corey Johnson.

"You know our legal department works at a great speed for the information they have. It's always such a process with any legal action. I'm proud of our law department," said Commissioner Mary Davis.

The question remains could the city be doing more to keep from paying more?

If you've experienced any type of work place harassment or discrimination contact the Georgia State Equal Employment Opportunity office, The Atlanta Fort Regents Office or The Office of Federal Contracting and Compliance.

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