A former aide to New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was allegedly forced to resign from her position as president of a leading security company because she defended an African American co-worker for wearing braids in her hair.

Katherine Lemire filed a racial discrimination lawsuit Nov. 26 against Michael Stapleton Associates, a security company, claiming its vice president of operations warned her co-worker Chanissa Green not to wear braids in her hair.

Green, a human resources assistant for the company, said Vice President of Operations Joe Atherall allegedly told her, “I’ll tell you what’s beautiful, my daughter, with blond hair and blue eyes.”

Lemier said her decision to defend Green ultimately resulted in her losing her job.

She told The New York Daily News that Michael Stapleton Associates “whitewashed” a discrimination investigation into the allegations and said she was punished for backing Green.

In a statement to the Daily News, company official George Harvey said, “MSA categorically denies that Ms. Lemire was subjected to any retaliation.”

“The complaint…is full of inaccurate and baseless allegations,” Harvey told the paper. “The company intends to vigorously defend this case,” Harvey said.

Lemire is seeking back pay, compensation for damages and corporate reforms in her suit against the company.


Blair Adams

AFRO Staff Writer