White Woman Claims Pittsburgh Public Schools Passed Her Over for Promotions, Raises Over Less Qualified Black Employees

A white secretary for Pittsburgh Public Schools is alleging she’s the victim of reverse racism.

Kristen Frankovich, a chief executive secretary who has worked for the school district since 2007, filed a racial discrimination suit against it on Thursday. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Frankovich claims in every position she’s held, she has been “consistently passed over for raises, promotions and various other advancement opportunities in favor of less-experienced African-American employees.”

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From the Post Gazette:

In 2012, her suit said, the district awarded the position of acting account clerk to a less-experienced and less-qualified black temporary employee instead of giving it to her. In 2014, she said, the district hired a black employee into Ms. Frankovich’s vacated position and increased the pay by $4,832 a year. She said she didn’t get any raises when she had the same position.

Ms. Frankovich said she was also denied a promotion to management level in 2014 and was told the reason was a lack of money for salary increases. But during that time, she said, the district paid a less-experienced black employee a management-level rate that was $30,000 more than what Ms. Frankovich was earning.

In 2015, according to the suit, Ms. Frankovich’s responsibilities increased but she didn’t get a raise. During that time, a black employee was paid the management-level rate despite not carrying the same responsibilities. That same black employee was later promoted.

Frankovich was promoted to chief executive secretary in 2017, but even then, she said, there were discrepancies. She points to black colleagues with similar titles who she says are paid more than her but have fewer responsibilities. Frankovich was most recently denied a promotion in 2018.

All this is evidence, she says, of discrimination against her and possibly others like her—that is, other white folks. It’s interesting that she doesn’t seem to be aware of whether this has impacted other white people in the school district, if other white staff members were denied promotions and raises, or if they were given them. And this is noteworthy because this is the sort of thing people of color frequently do when they suspect they’ve been discriminated against in the workplace: they compare notes, and not just about how they fare compared to white people, but if nonwhite colleagues are experiencing the same discrepancies.

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Frankovich, as it appears, has only looked at the plates of other black folks and deemed them unworthy of the advancements they’ve been offered. It’s the same sort of assumption that ungirds many arguments against affirmative action in college admissions—the assumption that any black person offered an opportunity is only done so because of their race. And there’s nothing “reverse” about that sort of racism.

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About the author

Anne Branigin

Staff writer, The Root. Sometimes I blog slow, sometimes I blog quick. Do you have this in coconut?