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Gov. Paterson accused of race discrimination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

Incoming Gov. David Paterson hadn’t even taken his oath of office before he was hit with allegations of race discrimination during his term as Senate Democratic leader.

Joseph Maiorello, a former Senate minority photographer, has filed an EEOC lawsuit alleging Paterson fired him because he is white, and replaced him with a black photographer. Maiorello said Jack McPadden, Paterson’s chief deputy, told him he was being terminated because “minority senators had requested hiring an individual of a racial minority.” McPadden denies that claim.

Paterson, who is legally blind, said the decision was racially neutral because he—literally—couldn’t see the difference. “Given my visual impairment, I did not know for certain the race of either,” Paterson said. Paterson said he fired Maiorello because he had been on his rival’s staff.

The EEOC, however, was not convinced. It noted that Democrats in the state Senate also fired a white graphic artist and replaced her with a Hispanic after Paterson became party leader.

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