Maryland Public Library Entering Mediation with NAACP over Discrimination Complaints
Wednesday, September, 18, 2013
A Maryland public library is considering mediation to resolve complaints from the Anne Arundel County NAACP regarding racial discrimination against African-American employees. According to the NAACP chapter’s president, Jacqueline Boone-Allsup, mediation is a welcome step and one the civil rights organization hopes will help provide African American library workers with a better working environment. “This is a big step and something they should be pursuing,” she said.
The Anne Arundel County NAACP is bringing the allegations against the library system due to multiple complaints of discrimination that have been filed by various individuals who have worked, or currently work, for the library. The allegations include hiring practices that are racist and an unsafe working environment.
Larry Randall, a custodian at the library, alleged that he did not receive a promotion due to the fact that he was African American. However, after looking at the evidence, a jury for the Circuit Court ruled that the complaint had no merit and should be dismissed. Cyrus Scott and Ronald Smith, two truck drivers who work for the library, allege that they were given trucks that were unsafe in comparison to trucks given to their white peers. Their attorney, Syed Shaun Bokhari, said in a statement, “We believe the evidence we present will work on our favor.”
Hampton “Skip” Auld, the library’s chief administrator, contacted the NAACP after receiving a letter from them concerning the “disparate treatment” of African American employees at the library. “We had lunch together at my request,” says Auld, “so I could hear their concerns directly, rather than through press releases, and they could hear my own perceptions and concerns.”