JEA facing federal employment discrimination lawsuit

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JEA is being sued by five Black employees who are alleging employment discrimination.

The five plaintiffs specifically allege discrimination in applying for promotions and other positions within JEA.

In multiple instances, they allege that they were passed over for promotions due to discrimination within the interview and interview scoring process. There was also a separate written exam.

The lawsuit references a previous Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint.

Some of the workers say they were forced to resign from JEA due to a hostile work environment.

The lawsuit also alleges widespread discriminatory practices and a racially hostile work environment at JEA, describing how Black employees were “funneled” into customer service positions while JEA “saved” better paying jobs such as linemen for white employees.

It also describes derogatory memes and emails circulated among JEA email addresses.

The lawsuit also cites white employees who reported witnessing Black employees being belittled, treated differently and disparaged by white supervisors.

According to the lawsuit, the EEOC issued “right to sue” letters on Jan. 6 -- a letter from the EEOC saying it’s done all it can do, and the next step would be a federal lawsuit.