Seattle Subjected White City Employee To ‘Racially Hostile Work Environment,’ Lawsuit Alleges

David Ryder/Getty Images

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Alexa Schwerha Contributor
Font Size:

A former Seattle municipal employee filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle earlier in November for allegedly creating a “racially hostile” working environment.

The plaintiff, Joshua Diemert, alleges that he was denied opportunities in his career in Seattle’s Human Services Department because of his race, forced to sit through race-based training sessions, urged to join “race-based affinity groups” and accused of benefiting from “white privilege.” Diemert seeks a declaration that Seattle’s policies and practices violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as damages up to $300,000.

The damages compensate for the salary lost “as a result of being discriminatorily denied promotions” as well as “for his mental pain and suffering.”

“The City treated Mr. Diemert with hostility based on his race when they racially segregated staff meetings, offered and required race-based programming, promoted affinity groups, and maintained a commitment to making racial distinctions among City staff,” Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Laura D’Agostino, who represents Diemert, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Mr. Diemert complained about these things to the City through his managers but they failed to stop it.”

“The city’s refusal to reasonably address and stop the race-based hostility violates the Equal Protection Clause, which protects Mr. Diemert’s right to a workplace free of racial harassment,” she continued.

Diemert was allegedly subjected to hostile interactions with colleagues, the lawsuit reads. Emails from colleagues allegedly referred to Diemert as “some asshole” and the “reincarnation of the people that shot native Americans from trains, rounded up jews for the camps, hunted down gypsies in Europe and runaway slaves in America.”

Moreover, the Seattle department allegedly required all employees to attend a “Race and Social Justice Initiative” training, according to the lawsuit. Facilitators at a 2019 “Undoing Institutional Racism” workshop that Diemert attended allegedly claimed that “white people are like the devil,” “racism is in white people’s DNA” and accused white people of being “cannibals.”

Diemert was also allegedly required to attend a 2020 training titled “Theory of Change” which  required him to rate how well the Department adhered to standards found in a document titled “Characteristics of White Supremacy.” (RELATED: University To Hold Event For White Faculty To Practice ‘Anti-Racism’)

“Treating and evaluating workers based on race violates equality before the law,” D’Agostino said. “All people should be treated as individuals with dignity and evaluated by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”

Seattle’s Human Services Department directed the DCNF to the City Attorney, who did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.