Native American Corrections Officer Files Discrimination Claim Against Albany County Correctional Facility
July 28, 2008 – Albany, NY – A claim has been filed by a Native American correctional officer against Albany County Correctional Facility for severe discrimination in the workplace based on national origin. The allegations include acts of discrimination against the officer over a period of three years, of which his supervisors were aware and frequently engaged in.
Robert Hunter, the correctional officer, was recurrently the target of derogatory comments and racial slurs based upon his status as a Native American at the hands of his co-workers, particularly his supervisors.
In one instance, employees at the facility publicly placed a poster of Native Americans in traditional dress and labeled the individuals pictured with the names of Hunter and his family. Another incident involved a surveillance video modified to depict Hunter being attacked to a “cowboys and Indians” style theme song. The video was shown at training sessions for the facility’s staff.
“This has been traumatizing not only for me, but for my family. It just became too difficult to wake up and go to work each day. I would be sick to my stomach in the morning,” said Hunter. “There’s no justification for the treatment I endured. I’m proud of my heritage.”
Hunter attempted to resolve the issues internally to no avail before pursuing legal action.
“The fact that administration failed to acknowledge and resolve the issue, in light of Mr. Hunter’s repeated requests, demonstrates a complete disregard for employees and civil rights in general,” said Ariel E. Solomon, the attorney representing Hunter. Solomon is a senior associate at Tully Rinckey PLLC.