A staffer for U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) is taking her prominent boss to court.
According to reports, Patrice Campbell alleges that Schneider subjected her to “an intolerable hostile work environment” and attributes the alleged mistreatment to her race.
Campbell, a Black woman, filed the lawsuit this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia where she had been working as a constituent services representative for the Illinois Democrat.
Specifically, she claimed that her supervisor, Karyn Davidman, was responsible for establishing a hostile work environment.
Much of Campbell’s complaint stems from a phone call in March.
During that call, she alleges that Davidman had been telling a story about how some constituents had been using lanyards to keep their face masks in place. At one point, the supervisor allegedly turned to Campbell and said: “You are going to have to get a rope and put it around your neck.”
The complaint asserts that Campbell was “taken aback by Davidman’s obvious reference to lynching” and told Davidman that her remark was inappropriate.
“You should have seen your face”
At that point, Davidman allegedly defended herself by saying that her use of the word “rope” was in reference to the aforementioned lanyards. Campbell claims the incident did not end there.
The following day, she asserts that Davidman sent her an email requesting her to show her face on camera during a staff video conference so she could retell the story. Afterward, Davidman allegedly remarked to Campbell: “You should have seen your face when I told that story!”
The lawsuit also includes broader complaints, including that Davidman always assigned Campbell casework related to minorities, making her feel like the office’s “Black people representative.”
Of course, Schneider’s office describes the situation much differently, asserting in a statement that “the federal lawsuit filed by Ms. Campbell does not provide a complete or accurate representation of the issues or her treatment by any office personnel.”
The lawsuit claims that Davidman was placed on paid administrative leave for a week following the complaint. Though she was supposed to be no longer supervising Campbell, the suit asserts that she continued assigning work through an intermediary.