Are Racial Discrimination and Cronyism a Problem in the NJ National Guard?

Our New Jersey Business Attorneys Explain the Devastating Effects of Racial Bias

Allegations of racial bias and cronyism at the top levels of leadership are rocking the New Jersey National Guard. Multiple complaints center on adjutant general, Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff and Brig. Gen. James Grant, director of the joint staff.

A number of separate complaints allege that both Cunniff and Grant have consistently shown unfair favor towards members of the Guard who are loyal to their personal agendas, and retaliation towards those who have raised complaints about incidents of sexual misconduct and discrimination. In addition, many of those bringing forth lawsuits allege that race has played a factor in the violations they have experienced and that Cunniff and Grant have given promotions to white guard members while dismissing or failing to promote members of color.

New Jersey National Guard spokesman Patrick Daugherty has publicly stated that there is no problem within the Guard, and that accusations are merely a result of individuals who are unhappy with decisions made by Grant and Cunniff. However, as accusations of misconduct, unfair treatment and racial discrimination continue to build, it is difficult to deny a level of turmoil appears to exist at the higher levels of New Jersey’s National Guard.

One of the highest ranking officers involved in the complaint is Col. Walter Alvarado. Alvarado is a guardsman with nearly 30 years of service. After serving for 3 years as Army chief of staff for the New Jersey National Guard, he was passed over for a promotion, the only Army chief of staff overlooked for the position in 30 years. Instead, he was put up for review and nearly removed from his job. Alvarado, who is Hispanic, alleges that the actions against him are a result of racial discrimination and cronyism amongst Cunniff, Grant and those loyal to them.

Prior to Alvarado’s complaint with the federal National Guard Bureau, another officer filed a complaint on December 8 with the Guard’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office. Col. John Langston has stated that he believes he was qualified for a promotion to Alvarado’s former job, but was passed over for the promotion in favor of Col. Christopher Perron, who then demoted him to a lower position. Langston believes this is retaliation for questioning the dismissal of six African American guardsmen on the technician force earlier last year.

The Problem of Racial Discrimination in the Workplace

Racial bias and discrimination are a serious problem when they appear anywhere, especially the workplace. Anyone who is experiencing discrimination or harassment based on his or her race or ethnicity should consider consulting an experienced New Jersey business attorney. Follow our newsletter for more news and updates on employment litigation and similar stories.