The National Republican Club of Capitol Hill is a ritzy private place for GOP bigwigs to hang out, right next to the Republican National Committee and down the block from House office buildings.
And, according to a federal lawsuit, it’s also a bad place to work if you’re black.
The club’s former assistant comptroller, claiming she was consistently passed over for a raise, is suing it for racial discrimination, Courthouse News Service reports. For eight years, Kim Crawford, a black woman, worked for the conservative club without ever getting a salary increase. She says other employees, who were white, did get raises. Her lawsuit claims the club’s general manager, Stanley Lawson, was responsible.
According to court papers, another time Lawson disregarded protocol was when it seemed to be time to promote a club chef who was Jamaican-American. Instead of promoting the employee to head chef and paying him a salary commensurate with his new position, Lawson gave him the title of “Acting Executive Chef”—and no raise.
Crawford initiated an investigation into that decision, and was soon fired. The firing must have cemented her suspicions that Lawson was a racist. In a phone conversation with City Desk, Crawford’s lawyer, Jimmy A. Bell, says that in the past, several Republican Club employees came to Crawford with discrimination complaints directed at Lawson. Lawson hasn’t yet returned requests for comment.
After being canned, Crawford was replaced by a white male, court papers say.
Though the club isn’t directly connected to the Republican National Committee, a discrimination suit lobbed at a conservative meet-up spot has a good chance of further tarnishing a brand name many African Americans are already wary of. When it comes to jilted employees and lawsuits, one can never tell how the facts will shake out. But even if it eventually becomes apparent that Lawson and his club are innocent of the allegations, would it be any surprise if people might assume otherwise about a political movement that’s never made a serious effort at courting a diverse membership?