EEOC Investigation Determines that Mississippi State Highway Patrol Discriminated Against African American Highway Patrolman

Today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its determination letter on the merits of the discrimination complaint filed by the Mississippi NAACP on behalf of more than 200 African-American Highway Patrolmen.  The complaint alleged that African-American Highway Patrolmen are subjected to discriminatory practices and racial slurs with the knowledge and approval of top Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials. 

According to the determination letter issued by the EEOC, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety “has engaged and is engaging in unlawful employment practices in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.”  The letter further states:

 

NAACP Mississippi State President Derrick Johnson stated: “Highway Patrolmen, who protect and serve the citizens of this State, should not be treated as second class citizens.”  Johnson continued, “Nearly forty years ago, African-Americans sued to have the right to be Highway Patrolmen, and it is a shame that forty years later they have to sue to be treated as equals.” 

The EEOC is inviting the Mississippi NAACP and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to join in a conciliation process in accordance with the Commission’s Procedural Regulations (29 CFR Part 1601.26).  As a remedy for the unlawful discriminatory practices, the EEOC is recommending that the Mississippi Department of Public Safety agrees:

  1. To pay African-American Highway Patrolmen compensatory damages resulting from the circumstances surrounding this charge in the amount of $1,500,000.00 dollars to be divided among aggrieved individuals;
  2. To pay the affected African-American Highway Patrolmen back wages from the date of the adverse act to the present minus any interim earnings, federal, and state taxes;
  3. To pay legal fees incurred by the MS NAACP and African-American Highway Patrolmen; and
  4. To ensure that the African-American Patrolmen will not be retaliated against in future consideration for hiring, promotion, job assignment, wage increase, or transfers – as well as to ensure that no other employer or potential employer of the African-American Patrolmen will be advised in any fashion of the facts or circumstances involved.

The Mississippi NAACP filed the complaint on behalf of the African-American Highway Patrolmen after several unsuccessful attempts to address the allegations filed in the complaint with department officials. 

Derrick Johnson concluded, “Discrimination in any form should not be tolerated, especially in state government.  The NAACP will continue to fight racial discrimination as we have done for over 100 years.”

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. It has more than half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities and monitors of equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. 

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