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Former Port Allen employee files lawsuit against city

Written by Emily Bell on . Posted in Local

Former Port Allen Chief Administrative Office (CAO) Cenceria Dalcourt has officially filed a civil rights lawsuit in Louisiana District Court against the City of Port Allen and former mayor Roger Bergeron.

Dalcourt originally filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Nov. 23, 2011, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation by then-mayor Derek Lewis, now in federal prison for his involvement in the FBI-dubbed “Operation Blighted Officials.”

Dalcourt filed again with the EEOC on Aug. 17, 2012, alleging retaliation and racial discrimination by then mayor Roger Bergeron.

She received a notice of right to sue on Nov. 5, 2012 and filed her suit accordingly on Jan. 29 of this year.

The suit says Dalcourt was “subjected to severe and pervasive, offensive and unwelcome sexually-based comments and behavior by Mayor Lewis” beginning in April 2010 when Lewis hired her as Assistant CAO.

According to the suit, “She opposed his unlawful sexual harassment, to no avail” and Lewis retaliated by “yelling at her and slamming doors, giving her very short time frames to complete assignments, and threatening her job.”

Lewis resigned June 28, 2011 and was later sentenced on one count of racketeering.

In a November 2011 special election, Roger Bergeron became Mayor of Port Allen. In December of that year, Dalcourt became the interim CAO.

The suit claims that Dalcourt “had been originally hired as Assistant CAO with the understanding she would be promoted to CAO.”

On June 13, 2012, upon Bergeron’s recommendation, the city council hired former Port Allen Police Chief Adrian Genre in a 3 to 2 vote over Dalcourt and 10 other applicants.

“Mayor Bergeron told Ms. Dalcourt that she could remain employed to train Mr. Genre, but that there would no longer be an Assistant CAO position,” the suit states.

Dalcourt later received a letter from Bergeron on July 12, 2012 terminating her employment effective July 11, 2012 for reasons of “dishonesty and insubordination.”

The suit alleges that the city was racially discriminatory in its hiring practices by denied Dalcourt a promotion to CAO and terminating her from employment.

A court date has not yet been set.

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