Local News

Women lose discrimination suits against state purchasing agency

Posted April 2, 2012 4:27 p.m. EDT

— A jury has found that the state Department of Administration didn't discriminate when a black woman was passed over for a promotion.

Mildred Christmas sued the state three years ago after a white man was promoted to the job of state purchasing administrator, despite the fact that she was considered "highly qualified" for the job.

Christmas, the daughter of Raleigh civil rights pioneer Ralph Campbell Sr., said Monday that she was not given a fair trial and that she was shocked by the verdict.

"I have not had an opportunity to talk to my great lawyers as to where we will go from here, but I will not give up the fight," she said.

In February, a federal judge dismissed a similar discrimination claim by Yvonne Holley, the daughter of the late WRAL broadcasting icon J.D. Lewis. She also was considered "highly qualified" for the purchasing job.

A 2008 investigation by the state Office of Administrative Hearings found that black women made up about one-third of the employees in the Division of Purchase and Contract but accounted for only 5 percent of promotions in the department over a seven-year period.