An employee of Boeing at their plant in North Charleston who found a noose hanging above his desk earlier this year says the company knew about “an atmosphere of racial hostility and harassment towards African Americans,” according to a federal lawsuit filed last week.
The man says he worked at the South Carolina plant for eight years and complained several times about racism in the unit where he had been assigned since 2017, the lawsuit says.
The man, who is black, says white coworkers urinated on his desk and in his seat “numerous times” and used a racial slur daily, according to the court filing. When he complained about the harassment and racism, the man says he was moved to a different unit that did not have air conditioning.
The racism at the plant gained international notoriety earlier this year after the man found a noose hanging above his desk, according to the lawsuit.
Boeing released a statement saying that most of the man’s “allegations were never brought to the attention of management, giving the company no opportunity to investigate these claims. The single issue he did raise was dealt with promptly and in a fair manner.”
Boeing says it fired the employee who hung the noose in the sprawling factory where the company assembles the 787 Dreamliner.
The man had to take medical leave twice because of the effects of the racist environment in the plant, the lawsuit says.
In a statement, Boeing said there are no “no validity to his allegations.”
While the man remains a Boeing employee, he is currently out on family medical leave, according to the suit.
Federal, state and local laws strictly prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee based on race. These laws protect employees from being treated less favorably than other employees, receiving fewer job or promotional opportunities, termination and more, strictly based on race.
Different Types Of Race Discrimination
There are two types of cases when it comes to race discrimination. The first type is disparate treatment/ hostile work environment cases, and the second type is disparate impact cases. Disparate treatment cases involve an employee who is intentionally discriminated against due to their race. Disparate impact cases involve an employee who is discriminated against by employment policies that negatively affect them because of their race.
Race discrimination can take a variety of forms. The following are just a few examples of how race discrimination in the workplace can occur:
- An employee is treated differently than other employees based on their race, including harsher disciplinary actions
- An employee is denied promotions, training, or other employment benefits due to their race
- An employee has suffered retaliation for taking action against a discriminatory employer
- An employee has suffered wrongful termination motivated by racial discrimination
Racial Harassment at Work
Hiring practices, intentional discrimination, and unfair practices are not the only ways employers can discriminate. Harassment is also a huge issue with regards to racial discrimination. A hostile work environment based upon race can also be terms for a case against your employer.
Race harassment can involve inappropriate humor, intimidation and even physical violence. Oftentimes, incidents start out small and escalate when not addressed thoroughly and aggressively enough. Challenging racial harassment at your workplace can be tough, but an assertive stance must be taken by your employer to make sure this type of behavior is noy tolerated.
Any co-worker can be a source of race harassment, from upper management to lower-level employees. While management may not be participating in the harassment, if they are aware that it is occurring and do nothing to stop it, they can be liable for the harassment. Employers are obligated to protect their employees from race harassment, so failing to do so can make them just as guilty as the person(s) carrying out the harassment.
The Next Steps
If you do have a race discrimination or harrassment case,, the next step involves submitting a claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This step is necessary, but can be overwhelming. Our Florida Workplace Discrimination Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help with the submission and much more.
Our discrimination and harassment lawyers know the impact that race harassment/discrimination can have on your self worth as en employee, which can negatively impact your work performance. We have the resources needed to help you protect your rights and remedy your current situation.