Attorney Ryan Schmitz represents Black man as all-white jury determines whether his termination from EMMC was discrimination

An all-white jury will decide if Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center discriminated against a Black man when the organization fired him in 2019 as the practice manager of its Orono primary care location or if he was terminated due to poor job performance.

David Ako-Annan, 46, of Milford sued EMMC in October 2019 alleging that a supervisor discriminated against him because he’s Black and male. The hospital has denied discriminating against Ako-Annan and said that turnover at the Orono facility was high and he was not addressing concerns that had been expressed about his leadership there.

Ako-Annan was hired in June 2013 and fired in early April 2019, a day after he returned from visiting his ill mother in his native Ghana, according to testimony. He told jurors that he was the only Black and only male manager out of EMMC’s five primary care locations.

His conflicts with his supervisor, Donna Ashe, began in 2017, a few months after she was hired. When Ako-Annan expressed concerns that he was being treated differently and unfairly compared to white female practice managers, Ashe said that she could not be prejudiced against him on the basis of race, because “I have a black foster child, so please don’t talk to me about discrimination,” his attorney, Ryan Schmitz of Augusta, told jurors in his opening statement.

Read the full Bangor Daily News article here.