A former official of the Denver International Airport recently filed a federal lawsuit alleging that he was the victim of unlawful retaliation for complaining about disparate rates of pay for black and white workers in the airport’s parking and transportation department.
The complaint that was filed in Federal District Court in Denver sets out the details of the former director’s complaints.
The allegations of the complaint
Before analyzing the complaint, please remember that the complaint is not evidence. The complaint is merely a recitation of the facts that give rise to the plaintiff’s claims – collectively, they are called a “cause of action.”
The plaintiff was hired in February 2020 and given a job classification of “airport commercial director.” Shortly thereafter, a white male was hired with the same job classification as the plaintiff but given a starting salary that was $18,000 greater than the plaintiff’s.
The plaintiff alleges that he complained on many occasions about the disparity in pay. An investigation was promised, but the plaintiff says that he never saw the results of any investigation.
The plaintiff, who was at the time serving as the airport’s director of parking and transportation, began making a series of complaints that minority employees – including himself – were not paid at the same rate as white employees. The plaintiff alleges that airport officials ignored these complaints.
The complaint also alleges that the airport officials gave the plaintiff the lowest performance review of his four-year tenure. The complaint also claims that airport supervisory personnel gave the plaintiff unwarranted disciplinary actions and threatened him with termination as retaliation for his complaints about the disparate treatment of minority employees.
The complaint further alleges that the airport changed the plaintiff’s job duties without informing him of the action. The plaintiff then filed a dispute resolution request with the city career service authority. Four days later he was placed on investigatory leave with no written explanation of the action.
The plaintiff resigned from his position on February 22, 2022. Two months later, the plaintiff’s supervisor was fired for “poor leadership and ineffective communication and follow-up.” By this point, many employees said that the parking and transportation division at the airport had developed a hostile working environment.
The complaint seeks lost wages from the pay disparity and attorneys’ fees and court costs. The city attorney’s office claims that it has not yet seen the complaint because a “technical error” prevented it from being served properly.