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Former sheriff's deputy settles workplace discrimination suit

Wisconsin residents should be able to go to work without worrying about on-the-job harassment. Sadly, many men and women are still subjected to unjust workplace discrimination each and every day. An out-of-state man recently settled a discrimination suit for what he described as years of racial bias at his place of work -- a sheriff's department.

The former sheriff's deputy worked at the department from 2007 to 2015, during which time he claims he was subjected to ongoing discrimination. His suit claimed that many department employees repeatedly used racial slurs and that his colleagues harassed him because of his race. Despite being qualified, he says assignments and promotions were instead given to other people at the department.

He also discussed a disturbing incident from 2010, in which a toy panda bear was hung from an office ceiling by a piece of rope. The panda bear was meant to symbolize him, his suit claimed, as he was half-white and half-black. The disturbing display remained in place for three years, but it was not the only harassing image on display. Mug shots of prominent black figures were often hung on the wall with the victim's badge number written on the images.

The lawsuit claimed that these were not isolated incidents, instead painting a picture of a discriminatory culture that had persisted for years. The suit was recently settled, and the county agreed to pay $645,000 in damages and to also institute important cultural diversity training. Wisconsin victims who choose to pursue their own workplace discrimination suits may feel comforted knowing that successful claims not only achieve necessary compensation, but also typically effect important changes.

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