Former employees accuse Shelby County Land Bank of discrimination, mistreatment

Enough is enough.

Those are the words from former employees who were recently terminated from the Shelby County Land Bank’s Office.

FOX13 has researched and verified claims against the Land Bank’s office.

“Never imagined this happening, not like this,” said Brittany Jones, former manager of the Shelby County Land Bank’s Office.

Jones started a new job as a manager of the real estate properties at the office in the beginning of August 2020.

“I was extremely excited. I was enthused and excited to take on a new adventure,” said Jones.

Things went well at first, but Jones said everything changed when a new administrator took over in February 2021.

“I witnessed the treatment of not only myself but my colleagues. It gave me a lot of anxiety and health issues,” said Jones.

Jones took months off work to deal with her disability. She requested a change to her schedule to allow her to work remotely a few days a week under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The county said it could not accommodate her request because of Jones’ job requirements. She was let go in October.

“I just felt a rollercoaster of emotions. I was torn apart,” said Jones.

Jones wasn’t the only one on the team who felt this way.

“There’s a difference being shown between females who are white and females who are Black,” said an anonymous former employee.

A second employee said she was let go in October in a dispute over filling out real estate paperwork.

“It makes me feel unwanted that the county allowed this to happen. When reaching out to the people in leadership, the Black women in our department are not supported,” an anonymous employee said.

The real estate department is made up of 10 employees. About half the department turned over in the past three months due to terminations and retirements.

“When it came to the team itself, she just one by one started to replace everyone,” Jones said.

All of this caught the attention of Shelby County Commissioner Britney Thornton.

“This is a real issue. It is unlikely that the amount of black women have been fired at this office,” Thornton said.

Thornton said that she received several messages from former employees. She is advocating for the employees who were fired.

“It takes seven votes to be able to create change in this commission and raise awareness around an issue. I definitely think we have the votes there. This is a new day and new age,” said Thornton.

Commissioner Thornton said that she wrote a letter to Mayor Lee Harris to investigate the Shelby County Land Bank’s Office.

Fox 13 attempted to reach the Land Bank’s administrator and the mayor’s office for comment about these allegations but did not hear back.

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