Williamsburg Co. county EMS director claims she was pushed into retirement because of race

VIDEO: Former Williamsburg Co. county EMS director claims she was pushed into retirement because of race

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The woman who served as the Williamsburg County director of emergency medical services claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that she was pushed into resigning from her position and retiring because she is white.

Renee Bryant served in the role for 13 years before she retired but told human resources personnel she couldn’t take the “discrimination” and “hostile work environment” created by others who worked for Williamsburg County EMS.

She claims that black employees were recognized for their accomplishments and she was not. She also states that she was bullied and had her intelligence questioned to “create a racially hostile work environment” by Williamsburg County supervisor Tiffany Wright and County Chief of Public Services Andre Dorsey, both of whom are black.

In the lawsuit, Bryant states Wright took office in January 2019 and created four new positions and the people who were hired for those positions were all black. The lawsuit states that Wright had told others that she wanted African-American leadership in Williamsburg County.

In January, Wright told all department heads in a meeting that she would fire anybody who talked negatively about her, according to the suit. In April, the lawsuit claims Wright held a meeting stating some negative comments were getting back to her and threatened to fire all department heads including Bryant, according to the lawsuit.

In April, Bryant claims she was denied access to a department budget meeting and later that month Dorsey held a meeting with certain EMS staff members which Bryant was not allowed to attend, according to the lawsuit.

During the meeting, the lawsuit claims that he specifically questioned why Bryant was hiring white EMS employees rather than black employees. Bryant claims that Dorsey intentionally used this to harass, intimidate and bully her.

According to the lawsuit, Bryant attempted to meet with both Dorsey and Wright multiple times to try and rectify issues before she resigned, but neither showed up.

Bryant is suing for alleged racial discrimination as well as the claim that her constitutional rights were violated. She hopes to recover lost wages and damages as well as attorney fees.

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