New York State Parks Department Sued for Age, Race and Sex Discrimination

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSP) is being sued by a longtime employee for age, race and gender discrimination because it failed to promote her while elevating others with less experience and fewer qualifications.

Kim Champion, an Black woman, has been employed by NYSP as a recreational specialist since 1993 at Riverbank State Park in New York City, according to the complaint. Champion says she has a bachelor’s degree in physical education, over 19 years experience directing youth and recreational sports programs and has excellent communication, writing and problem-solving skills.

Champion claims that “there are far lower percentages of female employees in higher paid positions at Riverbank State Park while there are far higher percentages of males in higher paid positions.” In addition, “African-American women are under-represented in managerial and higher paying positions” at that location.

Champion also claims that,”even though qualified, there are far lower percentages of employees over the age of 40 selected for interviews at [NYPS] while there are far higher percentages of employees under the age of 40 selected for interviews (as related to specific job announcements.”

Champion further claims that during her long tenure with NYPS not a single female employee as been promoted at Riverbank’s athletic, skating, maintenance or aquatics departments. Every time a supervisory or managerial position has opened at Riverbank it was given to a male employee.

In the complaint, Champion sets out four separate examples of situations, beginning in 2012, when an opening came about for which she was qualified, she was denied the promotion and an under-qualified male got the job instead. In one instance, the promoted male “regularly sought assistance from [her] to fulfill the responsibilities of” the job. In another, the promoted male failed his probationary period.

Champion is represented by Gerald Graves of South Orange, New Jersey who filed the case in the Southern District of New York.