Campus Notebook: AOC Pays $15,000 in Settlement

Posted October 13, 2010 at 6:19pm

The Architect of the Capitol’s office has agreed to pay a $15,000 settlement to a staff electrician who sued last year for racial discrimination.

Charles Bullock’s lawsuit, filed in October 2009, alleged that his supervisor “engaged in what is best described as a relentless campaign to demean and demoralize [him] to effectuate a mental breakdown based solely on [his] race.”

The House-side electrician, who is black, claimed that his white boss gave him difficult tasks despite, or because of, the fact that Bullock had a painful ganglion cyst in his wrist.

The manager placed Bullock “in high-risk situations, denied him safety equipment and denied him assistance with performing jobs that required two or more persons to perform safely,” according to court papers filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Bullock also claimed the supervisor denied him bonuses and leave to take care of his ailing spouse and verbally harassed him while white employees received preferential treatment.

Bullock applied for a supervisory position in December 2008. Though he claims he was qualified for the post, he said he was denied it in favor of a lesser-qualified outside candidate who is white.

The issue came to a head in March 2009, Bullock’s lawsuit said, when he collapsed at work, thought he was having a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a severe anxiety attack.

Bullock said he complained several times to superiors in the agency but they dismissed his claims.

The AOC denied all the charges of discrimination in a court brief filed in December. Though the agency has not admitted fault, the Oct. 6 settlement dismisses the lawsuit.

AOC spokeswoman Eva Malecki declined to comment, saying the agency does not speak publicly about personnel issues.

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