Reporter Darian Trotter spoke exclusively with the former employee who claims she was wrongfully terminated.
“It makes me feel very disheartened just to know that something like this is going on in our city,” Josie Numa said.
Josie Numa is talking about the culture within the district attorney’s office that’s led her to file a lawsuit in Federal Court.
She says during her five years at the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, several minorities were either wrongfully terminated or forced to resign.
“Our work was scrutinized on a much harsher level compared to non-minority attorneys and also we were often singled out,” Numa said. “We were often publicly humiliated and we were often just targets of constant beratement.”
Numa worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Child Support Enforcement Division.
That was until she filed internal complaints against her supervisors, and a formal charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Subsequently, she says she was terminated.
“It was more than just a paycheck for me this was my life; this was something I took very serious,” Numa said.
Numa’s lawsuit against the D.A.’s Office alleges she was a victim of retaliation, a hostile work environment, and racial discrimination.
She says several current and former attorneys support her move; many of whom are too afraid to come forward.
“Mr. Cannizzaro is a political powerhouse and that in itself alone is very fearful,” Numa said.
This is not the first time the D.A.’s Office has been the subject of a discrimination lawsuit.
Back in 2003, a lawsuit was filed when dozens of white employees were fired; days after the city’s first black district attorney took office.
Numa says regardless of race, she’s fighting to end the climate of discrimination and wrongful terminations.
“I want to see this injustice come to an end and I would like to see the discriminatory practices at the district attorney’s office come to an abrupt end,” Numa said.
Numa hopes her efforts will encourage others to come forward.
A spokesman for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on pending litigation.