Allegedly, in 2012 an effigy of a black UPS worker was made by a manager and hung right outside his office for four days. So say a group of eight current and former employees of United Parcel Service in Kentucky, who have sued the company charging racial discrimination, poor treatment because of their race and retaliation after they issued complaints.
The suit was filed in Fayette County Circuit Court in Lexington and names three managers and the company as defendants, reports The Huffington Post.
The men also claim they were punished more severely than white employees for “alleged workplace infractions.” According to the lawsuit, two of the employees were fired; two others resigned, which the court papers say constitute “constructive discharge.” The men complained, says their attorney, Luke Morgan, but UPS “has given them the runaround.”
The men want unspecified damages from UPS.
UPS disagrees with the men’s take on things. According to UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg, all the complaints were investigated.
“We took it seriously,” Rosenberg said.
The employees bringing the suit say they “endured severe and pervasive comments, intimidation, ridicule and insults while working at UPS.”
According to Morgan, the race issues started in the summer of 2008, when Barack Obama began his general election campaign for the presidency and resurfaced during his re-election campaign four years later. The lawsuit says that on Aug. 9, 2012, one of the managers made a dummy in a UPS uniform with a dark brown toboggan as a head and it hung from the ceiling until Aug. 13, 2012.
The odd thing is that UPS admits there was such a dummy. But they say it was part of safety training for drivers and not intended to offend anyone, confirms Rosenberg.
“We believe this was never intended to be offensive or discriminatory,” Rosenberg said.
The lawsuit also says there were “referencing an African-American employee as a ‘jungle bunny,’ stating to an African-American employee that his prostate cancer is a ‘black disease,’ remarks likening an African-American employee to a ‘monkey’.”