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State Finds Disparity in Purchasing Department Promotions

Posted April 25, 2008

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— State investigators have determined that state purchasing officials routinely bypassed experienced black women for promotions.

Through last year, about one-third of the employees in the state Division of Purchase and Contract were black women. But a state investigation shows that that group accounted for only 5 percent of promotions in the department over the last seven years.

Purchase and Contract directs more than $4 billion in state equipment and service purchases each year.

"African-American applicants, particularly black females who had more experience and more education, were being denied promotions," said Jack Nichols, an attorney representing two women who filed formal complaints that they were unfairly passed over for promotion.

Nichols' clients are Yvonne Holley, the daughter of the late WRAL broadcasting icon J.D. Lewis, and Mildred Christmas, the daughter of the late civil rights activist Ralph Campbell.

Investigators with the state Office of Administrative Hearings agreed with Nichols' assessment, ruling there was a clear pattern of disparity in promotions within Purchase and Contract and that the department might have violated the federal Civil Rights Act.

"I've never seen that strong of language in any other investigative report," Nichols said.

Purchase and Contract officials flatly denied the allegations, calling them unfounded and untrue. The officials maintained they follow fair hiring and promotion procedures.

Officials with the state Department of Administration, which includes Purchase and Contract, noted the former secretary of the department was a black woman, as was the department's human resources director.

The discrimination cases are now before the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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  • raynda Apr 28, 2008

    By the way, about my last post... The first choice candidate was white and the second choice was black. The first choice was rejected by HR because of EOE quotas. I'm not making anything up.

  • raynda Apr 28, 2008

    Yeah I hear that! As a previous state employee I've seen qualified white men get passed over for less qualified black women. Equal opportunity quotas = reverse racism.

  • enoughsenough Apr 28, 2008

    Now they know how white men feel!

  • raynda Apr 28, 2008

    Everybody please keep this quiet. Sharpton is already on the war path in New York... I'd hate for him to come down here and shut down Raleigh too. Hahaha

  • whatelseisnew Apr 25, 2008

    I suppose it is beyond possibility that the people that were promoted were the best candidates. I have seen highly educated people get shown the exit door because they suffered from work avoidance syndrome. All of them were white. None of them fit into any diversity group.

  • rde88jr Apr 25, 2008

    Black women make up 1/3 of the employees but are only 6% of the population. What's up with that?

  • colliedave Apr 25, 2008

    And affirmative action is not about quotas? Sure