1. Florida Politics

Lucas Overby named in racial discrimination lawsuit

Lucas Overby, 27, calls the claims in a lawsuit “completely unsubstan-tiated.”
Lucas Overby, 27, calls the claims in a lawsuit “completely unsubstan-tiated.”
Published Mar. 8, 2014

A lawsuit filed against congressional candidate Lucas Overby's family business claims that he and his father, who partially owns the company, subjected an African-American employee to racial taunts and harassment.

The lawsuit, filed last August, was brought by Derald Douglas, a former employee who said he was fired from the company, Dive-Tech International, in 2010. Douglas claims that his dismissal came after he complained about racial slurs aimed at him and being treated differently from his white colleagues when it came to pay and lunch breaks. His suit specifically calls out Lucas Overby, alleging that the 27-year-old Libertarian candidate for the District 13 congressional seat used racially derogatory language.

The suit claims that on one occasion, after Douglas had surfaced from a dive to join his colleagues for a lunch break, Overby ordered him to get back to work, saying, "Get your black a-- down there and finish."

"The claims in that suit are completely unsubstantiated," Overby said on Friday, adding that he had previously considered Douglas a friend and was "devastated" by the allegations.

"I completely understand how difficult it could be to be a minority in our line of work — it is a predominantly white field," he said. Overby said that during the time he worked with Douglas, he never heard him complain about his treatment.

But in the lawsuit, Douglas says that he brought his concerns to James Overby, Lucas's father, on several occasions in 2010. After the last confrontation, Douglas says he showed up to work and found the words "No talking to the n-----" written on the wall. Not long after, he was let go, according to the lawsuit.

Douglas filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2010, after he left the company. In June 2013, the EEOC wrote him back to say it would not sue Dive-Tech on his behalf, but that he could pursue a lawsuit.