Auburn Employees Claim Racial Discrimination - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Auburn Employees Claim Racial Discrimination

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "I was shocked and I knew right then, something wasn't right about it."  Tyrone Durrell is talking about what he claims is racial discrimination.

"These white guys never did this job before, had no experience and they paying them almost like $13 an hour," says David Holmes.

Salaries Holmes and Durrell claim are unfair.  The two men work as Building Specialists for Auburn University, doing custodial work at the student center.

Holmes and Durrell, along with five other employees have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the University.

The complaint alleges blacks are paid less than white counterparts with less experience and are given "least desirable work schedules."

"All the white guys they hired during the same time they hired me or a little before, they actually make more money than me and we don't understand why," adds Holmes.

The complaint outlines his salary of $11.97 an hour compared to white workers in the same job classification making $12.82 per hour.

"Eighty-five cents an hour, over a period of a year and five months, you talking between $3,000 and $4,000, that's a lot of money," Holmes says. 

"Here it is I come from the athletic department and they just bringing me in at that little low pay when guys coming in with no experience, you know making that amount," says Durrell.

The workers who filed the complaint are asking for corrected back pay from the University.          Holmes and Durrell say they also say they don't understand why only blacks work the second shift.

We took those questions and others to Auburn University officials.

"The university is taking the issues that have been raised very seriously," says spokesperson Mike Clardy.

Clardy says they can't comment on pending personnel issues but did explain more about the hiring process. Here is a statement from Human Resources.

"All non-faculty positions at Auburn University are established by the Department of Human Resources.  Job descriptions are submitted by departments, and minimum qualifications are determined by Human Resources in compliance with EEOC guidelines.  The job is then assigned to an appropriate pay grade based upon market information and internal organizational considerations."

Clardy confirms though, the university is looking into the allegations.

"We are working directly with the employees having one on one meetings with the employees meeting with their supervisors, working with their co-workers," adds Clardy.

Auburn HR officials also say in the statement, "Salary decisions are based upon a number of factors, including posted salary ranges, market considerations, individual candidates' education and experience, salaries of other like situated employees, and availability of current and continued funding.  Individual salaries are decided upon by the hiring department within established parameters."

"The information we get from these meetings will help us determine how we come to a resolution and of course if anything comes up that needs to be corrected, we'll correct it at that point," Clardy says.


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