Regrettably, racial discrimination is still alive in Florida's workplace, and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is no exception. The proof of this unfortunate statement is evident in current events, including the filing of numerous racial discrimination lawsuits. Three suits are currently pending. Most recently, the JFRD fire marshal received a 10-day suspension for allegedly making racist remarks during a meeting held to make plans for the Welcome to Rockville concert.
According to a complaint filed by another fire and rescue employee, the fire marshal used a common racial slur while addressing the staff saying, "if those --- try to put more than that [20,000] in the park, they will have to deal with me." A spokesman with JFRD said the fire marshal received and signed the disciplinary action notice on Friday, thereby acknowledging the complaint. The spokesman added that the 10-day suspension will be taken from the marshal's personal leave.
The punishment came down from the local Fire Chief who said in an earlier statement that the complaint was surprising as the fire marshal, who is African-American, has a good reputation with few complaints. The Fire Chief also said, "Any use of the word in the workplace needs to be addressed."
Even when made in jest or in a lighthearted way, racial epithets can be deeply offensive to some people. While legal action for mere words may seem harsh to many people, it is one of the most effective ways to send a message that Americans will not tolerate race discrimination in the workplace. We can all do our part by reporting any race discrimination we observe to authorities or by contacting an attorney for legal advice.
Source: Jacksonville.com, "Jacksonville fire marshal suspended 10 days for racist remarks" Derek Gilliam, Jun. 02, 2014