Orange County Public Schools employee claims discrimination against minorities



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County Public Schools employee told Eyewitness News he's being discriminated against because he's black and he claims he's not alone.

Michael Padilla has worked at the district's Facilities and Maintenance Department for more than 5 years. He said he's seen educated and qualified minorities overlooked for promotions during recent years. Padilla also claims minorities have been called racial slurs.

"I am not alone with this. There are many people within my area of operation and maintenance. They are crying for help," Padilla said.

Padilla has collected half a dozen complaints from fellow co-workers and sent them to the local and federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In one statement read by Padilla, an employee claimed to have been denied a promotion and was told by his supervisor that "we do not need anymore blacks as supervisors."

Orange County Public Schools does have minorities working in many top positions, most notably Superintendent Barbara Jenkins.

But Padilla said his department is different from others.

"It does not represent the diversity within the whole country. We want an investigation done with integrity and with truth," Padilla said.

A spokesperson with the school district released a statement to WFTV regarding the complaints:

"Orange County Public Schools takes all allegations of discrimination very seriously. Every complaint is investigated through an independent EEO Office."

Numbers released by OCPS indicate that 12 out of 49 available manager and supervisor positions are held by minority employees within the Facilities and Maintenance Department.