A public works employee, who identified himself as the nephew of former councilman William McKoy, has filed a lawsuit against the city alleging discrimination and hostile work environment.
Michael McKoy, a mason helper at the Department of Public Works (DPW), claims he faced discrimination because of his Jamaican descent.
McKoy’s lawsuit, filed last Wednesday, cites several examples of the alleged discriminatory conduct by his supervisor and co-workers. He alleges Luis Guzman, facilities supervisor, wanted him to work in an unsafe environment while re-building a bathroom at a city facility.
McKoy claims “dusty condition” in the environment was likely “toxic and unsafe.” Despite his concerns, Guzman wanted him to continue working in the environment until another official intervened.
Guzman allegedly told McKoy he would have been fired long time ago if his uncle wasn’t a councilman.
On May 12, 2020, councilman McKoy lost his bid for re-election. The next day, Guzman suspended McKoy, the mason helper, for ten days citing violation of time and attendance policy.
Both Guzman and McKoy appeared to have a testy relationship. When McKoy threatened to file a grievance for not getting overtime work, Guzman allegedly called him “greedy and selfish,” according to the lawsuit.
On October 23, 2020, McKoy was suspended indefinitely for allegedly violating time and attendance policy.
McKoy filed a complaint against Guzman with personnel, but it was lost. He later refiled the same complaint and his claims against Guzman were “corroborated” following an internal investigation by the city, according to the lawsuit.
Guzman was never disciplined or punished for his alleged conduct.
On June 7, 2021, Guzman sent an email to city attorney Rachel Nguyen for a copy of the investigation report. His lawsuit says she told him to make a formal request through an attorney. His attorney sought the report multiple times, but was never provided a copy.
In January 2022, McKoy was assigned to work at Eastside Park. There he allegedly saw Juan Hernandez, who is supervisor of the city’s poorly run recycling program, operating a vehicle in a “reckless and erratic manner” in the park. McKoy asked why he was driving around in such manner.
“This is how I drive when I want to kill Jamaicans,” Hernandez, who is Hispanic, allegedly told McKoy.
McKoy is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.