When Gov. David Paterson was Senate minority leader in 2003, he fired a white photographer and replaced him with a less qualified black one. Now the state has agreed to settle the original photographer’s lawsuit for $300,000 while admitting no wrongdoing.
Joseph Maioriello had been a Senate photographer for 26 years when Paterson unseated Sen. Martin Connor from the minority leader position. When Paterson came in, Maioriello lost his $34,000-per-year job.
The settlement came just as the case was going to trial. The prospect of a sitting governor testifying in opposition to a state senator was more than state officials could take.
Get the picture? When it comes to race-based hiring and firing, it’s pretty black and white. Replacing a qualified person of one race with a less qualified person of another is an invitation to be sued.
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- Good-faith treatment for all is good policy, and good protection against lawsuits, too