Lawsuit accuses UCD executive director of making racist comments, creating hostile work environment

A lawsuit has been filed against the Utica Center for Development and its executive director by a Black former employee who claims she was subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment.

Posted: Jul 23, 2021 9:57 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2021 12:37 PM

UTICA, N.Y. – A lawsuit has been filed against the Utica Center for Development and its executive director by a Black former employee who claims she was subjected to discrimination and a hostile work environment.

The complaint period started in October of 2019, citing incidents through March of 2021, when Ke'Airah Parker says she was terminated.

Parker is accusing Vincent Scalise, founder of UCD, of making racist comments about her hair and nails, including “you people always get nails like that. I’ll never understand it.”

The lawsuit also claims Scalise referred to Black Lives Matter protesters as “animals” and said “I would put a bullet in any one of those protesters online.”

Parker says she went to Human Resources to express her concerns, but was told there wasn’t much they could do. 

Parker also alleges she was treated unfairly when she was not allowed to work from home when her daughter was sick, and was asked to take a "less desirable" position with more work for the same pay.

According to court documents, UCD was also getting threats in response to some allegedly racist posts made by Scalise, including comments threatening to “shoot up the place.” Others also threatened to withdraw donations from the center.

Parker is seeking damages for discrimination and the alleged retaliatory actions taken against her because of her race.

NEWSChannel 2 has reached out to Scalise’s attorney, and are awaiting a call back.

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