Shirley Sherrod, ex-USDA worker: White House forced me to resign over fabricated racial controversy

On July 19, 2010, Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign from her position as Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture after conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posted on his website excerpts of a video of Sherrod’s address at a NAACP event in March, 2010.  Breitbart alleged NAACP members condoned racism, despite publicly opposing it.  In the video excerpts, Sherrod, an African-American woman, described her actions while employed at a private advocacy firm in 1986 when a white farmer sought her help after his farm was in foreclosure.  Sherrod admitted she mistreated the white farmer because of he was acting as if he was superior despite needing her help.  The NAACP condemned her remarks and U.S. government officials called on her to resign.  Upon further review of the video, the NAACP, White House officials, and the Secretary of Agriculture, quickly apologized to Sherrod and offered her a new position. Sherrod has not decided whether to accept.  NY Daily News

On July 29, 2010, President Obama appeared on ABC’s The View that the incident shows racial tensions still exist in America.  Obama pinned much of the blame on a media culture that he said seeks out conflict and does not always get the facts right.  But he added, “A lot of people overreacted, including people in my administration.”  Obama on The View.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.  The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.  Please visit the EEOC’s website for further information: EEOC Website.

Leeds Morelli & Brown, PC is a nationally recognized firm in the area of employment law.  Our firm has had considerable success in matters of employment discrimination throughout Long Island and the New York City area.  For more information, contact Leeds, Morelli and Brown, PC at 1-800-585-4658 for a free consultation.