SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KRON) — A former deputy district attorney has filed a $3 million federal lawsuit against the Marin County District Attorney (DA) claiming discrimination. This comes as another group of staff members at the DA’s office have also alleged that a photo displaying a staff member in blackface created a hostile work environment in the office.

Former Marin County Deputy District Attorney Cameron Jones filed the suit against Marin County DA Lori Frugoli, Assistant DA Rosemary Slote and others. The complaint alleges that the DA and other staff members participated in conspiracy, wrongful termination, retaliation, violation of First Amendment Constitutional Rights and a total of 19 state and federal violations.

The complaint states that Jones experienced “discrimination on the basis of race and gender” over a year-long period while working at the Marin County District Attorney’s Office. Jones reportedly faced managerial discrimination and a violation of constitutional rights, according to the complaint.

According to a press release shared by the attorneys representing him, Jones reported discrimination to his supervisor after being singled out for an evaluation that his fellow White coworkers were not asked to complete. After Jones says he was followed and his actions were being closely monitored, he protested that this treatment was creating a hostile work environment.

Jones’ attorneys say that after he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity office for the county, he was fired by District Attorney Lori Frugoli. His attorneys allege that this firing was retaliatory in nature in order to prevent Jones from completing the investigation process for his discrimination claims. Jones is asking for $3 million dollars and a jury trial. And the complaints against the DA’s Office don’t end with Jones.

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A manager who spoke out against Jones’ termination also faced retaliation, according to Jones’ attorneys. Charles A. Bonner, an attorney at the Bonner & Bonner law firm representing Jones, says that multiple employees of color who work with the county have reached out to his office to begin filing discrimination claims and lawsuits.

For years Marin County has engaged in a pattern and practice of racial insensitivity.

Charles A. Bonner

A staff supervisor working with the DA’s office alleges that they complained about a display put up by a legal staff member that had a “culturally offensive photograph” which featured the staff member in blackface. The photo was reportedly displayed close to a target poster that was “riddled with bullet holes.” A photo of a soldier with a machine gun advertisement from a gun range in Las Vegas also hung close by.

This is an image of a person in blackface.
Photo of a person in blackface hangs on an office cubicle. The target nearby is also riddled with bullet holes (Photo courtesy of Bonner & Bonner)

According to the press release, DA Frugoli did not ask the staff member to remove the photos, did not discipline the staff member and also “failed to order cultural sensitivity training.” The employees complained that the display was a violation of the county policy against, “Visual or Written Misconduct: Display or circulation of material, such as, but not limited to, posters, cartoons, drawings, computer graphics, e-mails, or other depictions based upon actual or perceived status in a Protected Class.”

The full statement from DA Frugoli is included below:

I want to make it clear to the people of Marin County that I find racism in any form to be abhorrent. I do not condone prejudice or racism on any level. I am unable to discuss the details of the pending lawsuit; however, I want to be clear that Equity and Diversity are at the core of our mission, and I intend to continue those efforts in the community.

Marin District Attorney Lori E. Frugoli

Jones’ attorney, Bonner, is no stranger to discrimination claims. In March of 2002 he won a discrimination case against Marin County on behalf of Lonnie Morris, who was awarded $1.6 million dollars by a federal jury after bullets were placed on his desk.