Racial, sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against Delaware Department of Insurance
DOVER, Del. – On Wednesday afternoon Fleur McKendall and her legal team made a statement. Employees like McKendall will no longer standby and be victims of racial and sexual discrimination in the workplace, least of all a government office.
“No one deserves to be subjected to the kind of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation that I have been subjected to,” said McKendall.
McKendalls attorneys say the discrimination at the Delaware Department of Insurance began as soon as new management took over the department in January of 2017. And when McKendall brought her issues to higher-ups, she was allegedly met with silence and retribution.
“Unfortunately, because I spoke out about being treated differently than my peers for reasons that I attribute to my race and gender, the current administration has engaged in a campaign which appears to me to have been designed to force me to leave the job that I love,” said McKendall.
That’s when she decided enough was enough and called on Attorney Benjamin Crump, who’s known for representing the families of Travon Martin and Michael Brown, and Angeli Murthy. Together they filed a lawsuit against the department on behalf of McKendall to get her the justice that they say she deserves.
“Fleur was the only black woman director and for her to be treated differently is unacceptable in Delaware,” said Crump.
47 ABC reached out to the Commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Trinidad Navarro, who’s one of many named in the lawsuit. Not long after he sent a statement saying, “As this matter concerns personnel issues relating to a Department employee, I cannot comment on the allegations of the complaint. I can say with certainty, however, that the Department respects and values all of our employees. As the Insurance Commissioner and the leader of this Department, I do not and will not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or retaliation of any kind against any Department employee.”
“I want to be able to do my job for the people of Delaware in an environment in which I feel safe and respected and I do not think that that is too much to ask,” said McKendall.
While this process is far from over officials say this is the first step in ensuring something like this never happens again.
“Today we are drawing a line in the sand. I stand with attorney Murthy to say no more,” said Crump.
Navarro says the Department has yet to be provided with a copy of or access to the complaint that has allegedly been filed in Federal Court in Delaware, and that they remain committed to their important work overseeing the insurance industry and protecting Delawareans. McKendall’s attorneys say they will work on getting the complaint served. They say they then will move forward with discovery, depositions and litigating the case until they can get justice.