A Canadian woman living in the United States is suing her former employer on the grounds that she was discriminated against because of her country of origin.
Laurie Samuel has filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington D.C., where she worked from 2006 to 2013.
Samuel alleges that her former boss made derogatory remarks about her Canadian citizenship, blocked her application for permanent residency, and talked about wanting to hire an American in her place.
Samuel is seeking back pay as well as compensation for punitive damages and legal costs. She is also requesting that the issue be resolved at a trial by jury.
The Office of the Attorney General, which oversees the MPD, has not yet filed a statement of defence against Samuel’s allegations.
Office spokesman Robert Marus declined to comment on the matter until that statement is filed.
According to the statement of claim, Samuel, who was born in Canada, completed graduate work in the United States and joined the MPD in 2006 shortly after finishing a PhD in criminology.
The bulk of her allegations are levelled against Diane Hains Walton, who was her direct supervisor for most of her time with the department.
Hains Walton grew resentful in 2008 when Samuel was assigned greater responsibility within the force’s human resources management division, the statement says.
This allegedly triggered a number of “snide remarks” against Samuel’s heritage and country of birth.
The statement says Hains Walton once told Samuel that she “talked white,” adding it was not typical for an “African-American.”
Hains Walton also allegedly began case discussions with comments like “Here in America we…”
Things escalated over the next several years, with Samuel alleging that her boss began disparaging her to co-workers, blocking her attempts to apply for promotion within the department, and telling staff that she wished to “hire an American” in Samuel’s place.
In one instance, the statement alleges Hains Walton misrepresented Samuel’s credentials to prospective hiring managers and even removed her name from a certification list after she had been chosen for a more senior role.
The statement further alleges that Hains Walton directly interfered with Samuel’s efforts to obtain permanent residency status in the U.S., a process that was being sponsored by the MPD.
The statement alleges that Hains Walton would be slow to complete finish necessary paperwork and in one instance even withheld a key document necessary to complete the process.
The claim says Samuel was placed on administrative leave in August 2013 and “constructively dismissed” two months later. Samuel attributes the dismissal to Hains Walton’s “discriminatory” treatment.
Neither Samuel nor her lawyer responded to a request for comment.