A U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has awarded $350,000 to a plaintiff in a racial discrimination lawsuit, finding an airplane manufacturer fostered a hostile work environment and failed to prevent race-based harassment and further was negligent in its hiring, supervision and retention of employees who committed such acts. Although the company, Boeing, denies the allegations and is weighing its options to appeal the verdict, five similar lawsuits against the company are pending – each alleging racial discrimination.
As detailed by The Press-Telegram, one of the incidents highlighted in the case at trial occurred at a workroom table at a facility in El Segundo, where a white co-worker tied a noose with a strand of rope and then tossed it to the plaintiff seated nearby. Plaintiff, who is black, caught it. He would later say he felt directly threatened, given U.S. history involving the lynching of African Americans. Another time, he said the same co-worker “joked” more than once about plaintiff being at the zoo for a “family reunion.” Once, while working on a top-secret security clearance project building satellites for the U.S. government, he said his colleagues nicknamed him after a pet chimpanzee. He was later humiliated to learn someone had put a piece of tape on his back with the offensive nickname on it – and that he’d walked around with it for hours without anyone telling him.
He and other plaintiffs said they feared (and still do) the possibility of retaliation. Continue reading