Stories For February 2014

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Roderick "Rick" Beasley earns more than Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The burly middle-aged bureaucrat with a penchant for bow ties runs CareerSource South Florida, a county agency that connects thousands of local job seekers and employers. With a $70 million budget fed by state and federal funds, it's the largest operation of its type in Florida and one of the biggest workforce boards in the nation.

But that's not all. Beasley (who made $179,676 in 2013, compared to Gimenez's $146,023) sits on the President's Council at Florida International University and the board of the Miami-Dade Early Learning Coalition, a nonprofit that advocates for children, and in February, he was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, which Gimenez called "an extraordinary honor." He's even president of the local Pi Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, a predominantly African-American fraternity with well-known members such as Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, and Rev. Jesse Jackson.

So it's a surprise to hear claims from a group of eight former Beasley employees who call themselves the Workforce-8. They maintain that the 49-year-old regularly bullies, verbally abuses, and even tosses staplers at female employees before pushing them out. "He destroyed our livelihoods," says Linda Pierre, a 36-year-old former research analyst. "We are all strong, smart, educated women of all ages and races, and he just couldn't live with that."

Pierre, who was fired in August 2014, has spent the past seven years reporting Beasley's alleged discrimination to authorities yet getting no traction. She penned scores of pages of comments in response to negative job reviews documenting Beasley's behavior, but no one seemed to care. The Office of Human Rights and Fair Employment Practices determined there was no reasonable cause to believe she was discriminated against, and the Office of the Inspector General and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust also failed to take action.

Then, finally, this past July and August, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sided with Pierre and others who had complained about Beasley. The commission agreed he had discriminated against Pierre and retaliated against her after she complained. More striking, it concluded that women working for Beasley had been "subjected to the same pattern of harassment, intimidation, exclusion, bullying... conditions due to their sex."

Beasley has consistently denied the claims. Contacted by New Times, he declined to respond to the allegations in detail, saying only, "I treat all men and women, black and white, fairly. Now, I never said I was a perfect boss... Only one of the women worked for me directly... They never interviewed any of the men."

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Thanks you for read my article Stories For February 2014
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