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Kimlin Johnson, Acclaimed Author & Civil Rights Activist, Claims She was Forced to Resign due to Racial Bias/Harassment

Kimlin Johnson 2

Acclaimed Author & Civil Rights Activist Kimlin Johnson

Johnson filed a grievance with the Los Angeles County Sanitation District ( on the basis of racial and health condition discrimination.

LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, April 11, 2019 / -- Acclaimed author of “Authenticity, Accountability & Ambitions: Speaking the Truth Through a Black Woman's Eyes (AAA),” and Civil Rights activist, Kimlin Charise Johnson was recently forced to resign from her job for perceived racial bias and harassment. After 23 years of loyal service at the Los Angeles County Sanitation District (LACSD), the LACSD served her with a Notice of Intent to Terminate on April 3rd 2019.

This was done even though Johnson’s infractions were minor, such as using LACSD resources such as a scanner and printer to help print her memoirs, and she was never given so much as an oral warning about these acts when they were noticed 6 months ago. Meanwhile, a white male coworker in the same department was also charged with a similar, but more serious, offense (use of LACSD resources to enrich his side business,) and received only a 10-day suspension earlier this year.

LACSD have a progressive disciplinary policy. Under that policy, insubordination is a 1-day suspension, misuse of equipment is a 1 to 2-day suspension, and even “deceit for personal gain” is also a multiple day suspension. Even fighting in the workplace or sleeping on the job do not carry such harsh punishments.

On the basis of these actions, Johnson has filed a grievance with the LACSD on the basis of racial and health condition discrimination, and retaliation primarily at the hands of her department head, Victoria Conway. The grievance was seemingly ignored and Ms. Johnson was neither informed of the results nor what action was taken despite requests for such information.

“According to Ms. Conway at an investigation meeting in January, this was not a ‘witch hunt,’” explains Johnson, “however, a ‘witch hunt’ is exactly what this was. It was an episode of Mean Girls completed during Women’s History Month.”

Johnson began working for the LACSD in 1995. She began as a student worker in the Solid Waste Department and worked her way up to Engineering Associate III in the Wastewater Management Department. Her department head had been Ms. Conway for about ten years. Over the years, Ms. Johnson, as an intelligent and confident Black woman, gained tremendous professional and personal experience through her work and private life and decided to commit her experiences to writing in a memoir which she hoped would empower other women of color seeking to succeed in what is often an uphill battle. To that end, she began to write.

“It was never a commercial enterprise,” states Johnson, “but rather a labor of love which has yet to gain her a single dollar after costs are considered.” Regrettably, on a small number of occasions, Johnson’s writing enthusiasm exceeded her lunch and rest times at the LACSD (the formal investigation noted a combined approximate 10 total unallowed hours over the course of 19 weeks—working out to approximately 0.5 hours per week). Additionally, Johnson made use of a LACSD scanner and some copy paper for her writing.

On about December 3rd 2018, Johnson was informed that she was under investigation for these improprieties and, over the course of the following months, no fewer than 4 meetings were held accusing her of various offenses. At all times, the meetings were staffed by no fewer than 3 LACSD employees; Linda Shadler (Industrial Waste Section Head), Jennifer Allen (Human Resources Manager) and led by Ms. Conway, a woman who, according to internal sources, “had it out” for Johnson from the start. During these unprofessional meetings, Johnson was denied the right to ask questions about the investigation, what the accusations were, and who her accusers were.

“I was never given a verbal nor written warning. In the evidence packet given to me with my Notice of Termination my written warning was from a 2002 Performance Evaluation,” continues Johnson, “In my book, I decided to honor the African heroes that paved the way in our nation's history, with the ultimate goal to make America better. That’s why I have also decided to fight these charges. It’s my hope that the taxpayers do not have to continue to pay for the LACSD’s Management’s blatant disregard of following disciplinary charts or policies. The LACSD is a public agency, not a family owned business.”

Aurora DeRose
Aurora DeRose
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