St. Louis sheriff James Murphy has been accused of ignoring racial problems within the department since he was elected in 1988.Two of his deputies sued him for employment discrimination, alleging they worked in a racially charged, hostile work environment because Murphy refused to discipline 3 other employees who hung a noose from some pipes in the St. Louis Civil Courts building in 2006, near where prisoners were held. The lawsuit also alleged that Murphy passed over black employees for promotions and gave those promotions to white employees. Plaintiffs also allege that they were retaliated against for complaining about the racial problems. A jury is currently deliberating this case.
Under the Missouri Human Rights Act, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate based on race, among other things. It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for exercising his rights under the Missouri Human Rights Act.