found hanging in a locker. The word "Nigger" spelled ingraffiti
on an African-American woman's dressing quarters. Sadly, the Houston Fire Department has for years been plagued with acts and allegations of racism.
Fire Inspector Kenneth Ware is now adding his two cents and stepping into the limelight, having recently filed a lawsuit against the City of Houston alleging 14 years of continual discrimination at HFD.
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In the lawsuit, Ware paints a picture of racism followed by harassment and retaliation anytime he complained or tried to stop it. He claims his superiors got back at him for complaining by "placing unfounded disciplinary statements in his permanent personnel file," physically threatening him, and openly singling him out "for being different."
In one instance, claims Ware, it was Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, when Ware overheard a white fire inspector say to a black fire inspector, "Happy Watermelon Day, buddy."
When Ware complained, he says he was retaliated against when his colleagues began writing offensive messages to him on a whiteboard in a public room. Ware claims that after he filed a grievance with the EEOC, other fire inspectors began slamming their office doors around Ware and that his office furniture and computer screen were stolen.
Ware, who is representing himself in the case, declined to comment.