School Board member John Harper Jr., continuing with a case that was dismissed by both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the federal courts, has filed a discrimination case against the county this week in Prince William Circuit Court.
The lawsuit alleges that Harper was unfairly terminated from his job as the administrator of the Dale City Sanitation District and recreation center after nine years of superior service because he is black. He is seeking at least $1 million in damages.
Harper, 62, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, said he was promised another job when his position was eliminated during a government restructuring. He said other white employees were shifted to new positions, but he was not.
After his position was eliminated and he realized he would not be rehired, his age and race made it impossible for him to find another job, Harper said in an interview yesterday.
"I was told that all the full-time staff at the rec center would be retained like they've done for so many others," Harper said. The employees who did get other jobs all are white and younger than he is, Harper said, though his complaint in the Circuit Court refers only to race.
"I want to be made whole," he said.
Harper, who represents the Neabsco District on the School Board, is stepping down from the board in November when his term ends for health and family reasons.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dismissed Harper's grievance because it was filed after the statute of limitations expired. The federal lawsuit, filed in April 1998, was dismissed in July 1998 because the judge concurred with the county that the lawsuit made baseless claims, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac said.