In the news today, the state of Vermont settled a discrimination lawsuit brought by a former clerk at the Washington County Courthouse in Barre. Shanda WIlliams was fired in 2018, and filed suit the following year alleging racial discrimination by her supervisor, Tammy Tyda. The state will pay her $60,000 to settle the case.
Fair enough. Sounds like the state got off lightly, given Seven Days’ account of her work experience. But there was a passage in the article that really bugs me. I think you can figure it out.
Last May, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office asked a federal judge to dismiss the case on the grounds that Williams’ initial filing was scant on evidence of discrimination. Williams had noted that she was the only Black worker in the Barre office. But the state argued that, because only 1.4 percent of Vermont’s population is Black, Williams’ “office was more diverse than Vermont generally.”
That’s some Kafkaesque reasoning right there. The only Black person in a workplace can’t possibly have suffered discrimination because… Vermont is an overwhelmingly white state?
There’s so much wrong here.Continue reading