August 24, 2004

FL GOP being sued for race discrimination by former employee

The Republican Party of Florida is being sued by former Southwest Florida employee Nadia Naffe. Naffe's suit alleges that she was required to perform job assignments against her will that concentrated on black organizations, events and issues.

Naffe alleges that she complained to the party's officials about this illegal practice, known as "race matching," but that her complaints were ignored. Instead, Naffe was told she was being "insubordinate" and "not a team player."

After seeking and failing to get assistance from the Republican Party, Naffe contacted the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March 2004. The lawsuit alleges that shortly afterwards she was verbally threatened with firing by the RPOF's General Counsel, Robert Sechen. As retaliation, Naffe was fired a month later for reasons that her lawsuit alleges were fabricated.

The lawsuit alleges that Naffe was subjected to racially insensitive and stereotypical statements by RPOF Executive Director of Party Development Terry Kester including the following:

-- Instructing Naffe to contact African-American Republican Clubs to discourage their members from attending an NAACP march because "The last thing (the RPOF) want(s) to see is some black guy on television wearing a Republican shirt and responding to the press in an ignorant way."

-- Routinely referring to African-Americans as "you people" or "your people."

-- Telling Naffe that she was being given race-matched job assignments because "you understand your people."

-- Showing Naffe a portrait of the late Senator Strom Thurmond and boasting that he believed Thurmond was "the best Senator who ever lived."

The lawsuit alleges that when Naffe complained to the Chairman of the RPOF, Carole Jean Jordan, about the discrimination she was experiencing, she was told that the offending supervisor could not help the way he was because "he comes from a redneck part of the state."

Interestingly, Jaffe's lawyers issued a press release today, presumably to inform everyone of the lawsuit.

No associated coverage has been noted in any of the local media, either in Tampa, Orlando or Miami.

We'll have to see whether this is truly an object of concern, or someone trying to play politics during the election year.

Posted by mhking at August 24, 2004 11:37 PM
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