A discrimination investigator has filed suit alleging that his black City of Orlando supervisor racially discriminated and harassed him because he was white.

David Gillespie, 58, claims that his supervisor, Patricia Newton, was in a discussion about political views with a coworker who pointed at Gillespie and said, “These old white men need to die and get out of the way?” and Newton replied, “Well it’s true,” according to the suit filed Monday in federal court.

The lawsuit claims that Gillespie was given 200 percent more work that other employees in the department and experienced racial comments on a weekly basis from 2011 to 2015. It said that Gillespie was “afraid of making a complaint because he had seen that anyone who complained to Human Resources was summarily targeted after the complaint.”

“We take any allegations of discrimination or harassment seriously,” city spokeswoman Cassandra Lafser said in a statement Wednesday. “We launched an extensive internal investigation into allegations of this raised by the employee. The result of that investigation found no evidence of unlawful discrimination or harassment.”

Newton was not the only supervisor Gillespie complained about in the suit. It also said that Marcia Hope Goodwin, chief service officer for Community Affairs & Human Relations, asked why he used a cane. She also allegedly told Gillespie that he had to coordinate his hip replacement surgery schedule with her, before talking to his doctor.

Gillespie still works for the city. He was hired in 2003 and was laid off in 2008 as part of a reduction of the workforce. He was rehired in 2001 as a discrimination investigator II in the Human Relations department. Gillespie and Newton worked together from October 24, 2011 through January 1, 2016, when Newton left to take a job in Tampa.

Gillespie’s Orlando attorney, Mark Lippman, did not return a reporter’s call.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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