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Former Employee Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against D.A.’s Office

discrimination A racial discrimination lawsuit has been filed against the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office.

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.

4 comments

  • slim53

    I could relate to Josie Numa because I was one of the first people that was discharged in the D.A office by Cherrrie Huffman on December 1,2008 right after he took office and he had not been sworn in yet.,but during his campaign he promised the workers no one was in jeopardy of losing their job and Cherrie Huffman came in and dismissed worker because she had assistance from another supervisor When this happen to me I requested to speak with Mr. Cannizzaro the same day and he indicated it was not necessary to come to the office because what ever decision Cherrie Huffman made was final.After my dismissal three other were discharged in January 2009 and they all were African American replaced by White worker.Mr Cannizzaro was aware of what was going on and it has been going on for the past 5 years and not even EEOC wanted to hear what you had to say about the office. Did it matter this was African American filing a lawsuit against someone who has power in this city that EEOC did not want to be bothered with the case.

  • hurt11

    The person that made the comment about Mr. Cannizzaro is so right about all that happened in the Child Support Office. Cherrie Huffman cannot make a final decision on anyone until it's discussed with Mr. Cannizzaro.

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