Black House Staffer Sues Employer Over Hostile Workplace, Discrimination

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A Black staffer for a US representative filed a lawsuit against her boss after accusing her supervisor of creating a hostile work environment and discrimination. 

According to Newsbreak, the staffer, Patrice Campbell, filed the suit against Karyn Davidman, a supervisor in Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois office, after Davidman made a comment about lynching to her and faced retaliation after reporting the incident. 

Campbell filed a lawsuit against Schneider’s employee Thursday (July 15) in the US District Court for the District of Columbia and alleges Davidman “created an intolerable hostile work environment” for Campbell on the basis of race. 

The lawsuit claims that Davidman made the lynching remark in March while telling a story about constituents using lanyards to keep face masks upright on their face. Davidman allegedly ended the story by telling Campbell, “You are going to have to get a rope and put it around your neck.” 

Campbell, who serves as a constituent services representative, is the only Black staffer in the office and says Davidman’s comments were a reference to lynching. Davidman reportedly responded by saying that the “rope” she was referring to was a “lanyard” for masks. 

Campbell said the incident didn’t end there, and that Davidman continued to taunt her on staff video calls saying, “You should have seen your face when I told that story!” 

The lawsuit claims that Campbell’s trajectory in the office was stunted after she reported the incident, facing what she describes as retaliation in work assignments and ongoing “off-hand comments that are, at best, racially insensitive, if not outright discriminatory,” the lawsuit reads. 

A spokesperson for Rep. Schneider said Campbell’s lawsuit “does not provide a complete or accurate representation of the issues or her treatment by any office personnel.” 

According to the report, Campbell took a month of unpaid leave in April and worked a reduced schedule for multiple months as a result of the workplace environment she endured.

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