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Two Employees Sue DOT

Nov 11, 2004 | Carolina Morning News

Two Beaufort employees of the S.C. Department of Transportation have filed a civil lawsuit charging racial discrimination at the agency.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Columbia last month by Beaufort attorney Bill Harvey. It charges the state agency with failure to grant promotions on racial grounds in the cases of Wendell Mulligan of Beaufort and Malzone Russell of Ridgeland.

According to the suit, the two were repeatedly denied promotions while white employees with fewer qualifications and less education received advancements.

Russell has more than 10 years of continuous employment with the agency and Mulligan has 21 years. Both are engineers in the district's maintenance department.

According to the suit, there are no black district engineers or resident construction engineers in any of the DOT's seven district offices or 48 county offices.

The suit contends the discrimination is agency-wide and asks for a permanent injunction against further violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, plus an adjustment of salaries.

Peter Poore, spokesman for the DOT, declined to comment on the suit.

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