Conn. DMV Sued For Civil Rights Violations

People exit the Wethersfield, Conn., offices of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles Thursday, May 21, 2009. The DMV offices across the state will be closed Friday as a furlough day to help alleviate Connecticut's budget crisis.(AP Photo/Bob Child)
People exit the Wethersfield offices of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles
Bob Child/AP

A young black man got a promotion, and now 13 people are suing the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles over it.

Twelve people over the age of 40 and one younger man have accused the DMV of civil rights violations in a lawsuit, saying they were discriminated against based on their age and race.

At the center of the case is Robert Tyson’s promotion to motor vehicle inspector sergeant in 2012. At the time, Tyson, who is black, was under the age of 40.

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According to CBS, before receiving the promotion, Tyson filed an affirmative action complaint against the DMV because he was told that he hadn’t been on the job long enough to be eligible to take the sergeant’s exam. He dropped the complaint when the exam date was pushed back and he was allowed to take the exam. But another employee under the age of 40, Abe Rosario, was not allowed to take the exam because he was too young. Rosario is the one plaintiff under age 40.

The other 12 plaintiffs—Bill Cortez, Howard Jacobs, Amy Jones, Steve Licitra, Bonnie Morin, John Mrozowski, Doug Pratt, Tony Santos, James Smollen, Chris St. Jacques, Fred Torres, and George Winter—are described as “of a different race” than Tyson, according to the Hartford Courant. All 12 applied for the sergeant position, but the job went to Tyson.

The complaint accuses the DMV of “discrimination and disparate treatment of the plaintiffs, who ... have been denied promotions and opportunities based upon their races and ages.”

The DMV, the state of Connecticut, and several DMV employees are named in the suit, which was filed on August 7.

The DMV has declined to comment to the press on the case, as has the plaintiffs’ attorney.