Black workers suing General Motors over alleged racial abuse by white staff

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Friday 18 January 2019 16:45
news

Black workers are suing General Motors following what they claim to be systematic and targeted racial abuse by white members of staff at an Ohio branch that led to nooses being found in the workplace.

Former supervisors Marcus Boyd and ex-Marine Derrick Brooks allege that they endured over a year of a hostile working environment that included frequently being called the n-word and other racial slurs, where bathrooms were called ‘whites only’, employees and other African American employees were called “monkey” and told to “go back to Africa,” an extensive CNN investigation found.

The pair have since filed lawsuits against General Motors, and they allege the company failed to adequately deal with the racially charged environment despite repeated complaints from multiple black employees.

Michelle Vocht, a lawyer who represents current and former staff at the Toledo, Ohio plant told NBC News that she believes the harassment is still continuing, and she’s amending the complaint.

The hostile environment has continued and reached a retaliatory level.

The abuse alleged by Boyd and Brooks includes white employees who would use coded language to talk about them, including calling them “Dan,” which other colleagues have said is an acronym for “dumb ass n****r.”

Five hanging nooses were reported at different times to GM, the lawsuit alleges, to little effect.

Brooks said he believes the hanging noose was directed at him in March 2017 because he was “the only black supervisor in that department working on that shift,” he revealed to NBC.

The pending lawsuit was filed on the grounds of an “underlying atmosphere of violent racial hate and bullying."

Some of the black employees were told to “be careful” because a white employee’s “daddy was in the Klu Klux Klan.”

GM told various news outlets that “discrimination and harassment are not acceptable” and it is investigating the allegations.

It added to NBC that there is also a police investigation, though they have not “yet been able to identify the responsible individual[s].”

Indy100 has contacted General Motors for comment.

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