Iona College Sued for Discrimination Based on Race and National Origin

Iona College is being sued by a former security guard who claims it fired him under false pretenses, namely a missing box of chocolates, and that the real reason was because of his race and national origin.

Hurbert Hamilton, a black, male native of Jamaica, was hired by Iona College as a security guard in 2008, according to the complaint. He claims he “performed his services competently, faithfully, and diligently, and he consistently satisfied Iona’s reasonable performance expectations for his job.” He claims he received several merit based raises.

Hamilton claims that there was a disproportionately low number of black and Jamaican security guards at Iona. He also claims he was subjected to “hostility and was treated less favorably than similarly situated employees who were not black and Jamaican.”

Hamilton cites as an example of hostility an episode where he was disciplined for not locking a building, a task assigned to another guard and actually completed by that employee. He also claims he was assigned undesirable work assignments.

In September 2017 Hamilton made a written complaint of race/national origin discrimination against the college, but no meaningful investigation was conducted. He claims that, following the filing of the complaint, the discrimination and harassment against him intensified.

Hamilton claims a co-worker overheard Iona’s management saying that he could no longer be trusted and would have to be fired.

A few weeks later Hamilton was fired under what he claims were false pretenses. Iona accused him of losing a box of chocolates; Hamilton claims it was only mislaid while he was returning it when he put it on the ground to address a security issue involving trespassers. 

Iona accused him of theft but Hamilton states that “was a pretext for the illegal discrimination and retaliation that were the actual motivation for Iona’s termination of his employment,” the complaint states.

Hamilton is represented by Corey Stark of New York city who filed the case in the Southern District of New York.

Image Source: Barn Images (Flickr)