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County settles bias suit over risk management appointment


A settlement was reached Monday just before trial was to begin in a lawsuit filed by a black woman who charged racial discrimination because she was passed over for a promotion to risk manager for Henrico County in Virginia.

Jeanetta Lee filed suit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, in June 2018 against Henrico County charging it discriminated against her because of her race when it gave the risk manager position to an allegedly lesser qualified and experienced Caucasian male.

Ms. Lee’s attorney, Christopher E. Brown, of Alexandria-based The Brown Firm PLLC, said in statement the case settled after the jury was selected, during the lunch break before attorneys were to return and begin opening statements.

He did not provide details of the settlement.

The county said in a statement, which it said was agreed to by all parties, “The County and Jeanetta Lee have agreed to resolve their differences outside of court. The County recognizes the value of Ms. Lee’s contributions; Ms. Lee desires to work collaboratively with County leadership and apply her expertise toward the County’s risk management efforts.”


The June 2018 complaint in Jeanetta Lee v. Henrico County charges violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and sought at least $1 million. Ms. Lee was 52 when the lawsuit was filed and earning $77,000 as a claims manager for the county. She reports to the applicant who was named risk manager.

According to her complaint, Ms. Lee, who began working for the county in 2016, applied for the risk manager position after the previous risk manager left the position vacant.

She said the position was given to another applicant who had served as the division safety and environment manager but had no insurance or claims experiences “and would rely on Lee’s expertise in his new role.”

In 2017, a federal appeals court reversed a lower court ruling and reinstated a retaliation charge filed by a risk manager who charged she was terminated for complaining on behalf of an underpaid worker. 





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