Department of Justice SealDepartment of Justice
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the City of Dallas Alleging Race Discrimination and Retaliation

WASHINGTON The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the city of Dallas, alleging that the city subjected Frenchell Willis, an African-American and a former general laborer for the city, to discrimination on the basis of his race by terminating Willis from his position as a general laborer in the Wastewater Operations Division of the City’s Water Utilities Department. The complaint also alleges that the city subjected Willis to retaliation by terminating him for opposing conduct that he reasonably believed to be unlawful under Title VII.

Willis was assigned to work as a general laborer in the Dallas Water Utilities Department in October 2006. Willis reported that his immediate supervisor referred to Willis using racial slurs. On the day Willis reported the use of racial slurs by his immediate supervisor to senior management in the Dallas Water Utilities Department, Willis was terminated by the city.

"Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment and protects individuals from retaliation when they exercise their rights under the law," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. "The Department is committed to enforcing all the federal civil rights laws, including Title VII, under its jurisdiction."

The continued enforcement of Title VII has been a priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its Web site at