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Press Release

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging Retaliation by the City of Selma, Texas, Fire Department

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today the filing of a civil suit against the city of Selma, Texas, alleging that the city discriminated against firefighter Adam Sadler in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The complaint alleges that the city violated Title VII by retaliating against Mr. Sadler because he engaged in activity protected under the act.  The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

According to the Justice Department’s complaint, in 2009, the fire chief sought and received permission from the city administrator to demote Sadler from lieutenant to firefighter because Sadler complained of the fire chief’s use of ethnic slurs in the workplace.  The complaint alleges that the demotion occurred less than one month after Sadler submitted a complaint to the city regarding the fire chief’s use of the discriminatory comments.

“Title VII protects an employee from retaliation when he or she opposes employment discrimination.  The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “A person cannot be demoted from his position because he complains to his employer about the use of discriminatory comments in the workplace.”

The San Antonio Field Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated and attempted to resolve Sadler’s charge of discrimination before referring it to the Department of Justice for litigation.  More information about the EEOC is available on its website at

The enforcement of Title VII is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 12-409