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Jefferson City man alleges discrimination at Department of Corrections

Cole County courthouse in Jefferson City
KMIZ
Cole County courthouse in Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

A Jefferson City man this week sued the Missouri Department of Corrections, alleging he was mistreated because of his race and national origin and eventually fired.

Stephen Ben-Naimah, a former probation and parole assistant, alleges in the lawsuit filed in Cole County that his supervisors spoke with disdain of his Liberian origin.

One supervisor allegedly told Ben-Naimah to "put on your African learning brain" and another called him a "mass murderer." Liberia experienced two bloody civil wars in the 1990s and 2000s.

Ben-Naimah also alleges one supervisor told another employee to look for disqualifying information as Ben-Naimah was seeking his U.S. citizenship.

Ben-Naimah alleges he was also disciplined differently than white workers when he was occasionally late. He claims he was denied promotion and transfer and fired in October. He began working for the department in April 2018.

Karen Pojmann, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said the department does not comment on pending lawsuits.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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