A former North Myrtle Beach employee is suing the city after she says she was racially discriminated against and fired after reporting errors in her pay.
In a lawsuit filed in Horry County court last week, the woman also says she was subjected to sexual harassment and a “hostile work environment.”
Carolina Garcia, a 46-year-old Hispanic woman, was hired in June 2016 by the City of North Myrtle Beach as a part-time revenue business license inspector. She initially worked between 35 and 40 hours a week but eventually went up to 40 hours per week, working with both the revenue department and the water billing department.
This forced her to bill hours to two different departments and prevented her the benefits and title that come with being a full-time employee, according to the lawsuit.
Garcia also says her boss, the director of finance for the city of North Myrtle Beach, who was a white man, touched her inappropriately throughout the duration of her employment. The lawsuit does not say whether the harassment was reported.
Garcia said in the lawsuit that her former employer discriminated against her and that she was later furloughed and fired on the basis of “sex, age, religion and/or race.” Garcia states in the lawsuit that she has no religious affiliation.
North Myrtle Beach city spokesperson Pat Dowling declined to comment, saying that it is the city’s policy not to comment on legal matters. Attempts to reach the director of finance were unsuccessful.
Garcia was working 40 hours a week without being classified as a full-time employee, which would have given her benefits with her job. She complained to the city manager but no action was taken to give Garcia the job benefits she was entitled to receive, according to the lawsuit.
In September 2019, Garcia was disciplined for “minor work infractions” that she believes were pretext for discrimination and retaliation for reporting the discrimination to the city manager, the suit states.
On May 8, 2020 she was fired from her job after weeks of furlough, which began on April 17. Garcia states in the lawsuit that the furlough and later termination were not related to the stated reasons but were “pretext for discrimination and retaliation for complaining about her lack of benefits she was entitled to receive.”
Garcia is asking for more than $50,000 in damages.