Solomon Perry was “victimized, assaulted and harassed” by racist co-workers while trying to do his job as a train conductor at the Illinois Central Railroad, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the Associated Press reports.
Co-workers hurled racial slurs over radios and in graffiti left throughout his workplace in the suburb of Markham, Ill., the suit says. But he suffered a final indignity on November 2012, when a co-worker attacked him by holding him down in a break room and cutting off his dreadlocks.
"I was victimized, I was assaulted and harassed," Perry said during a news conference, according to the AP. "This was a hate crime. I was targeted!"
Further, he claims that railroad officials did not take his complaints seriously. Perry’s attorney, Lisa Banks, called what Perry experienced an egregious case of race discrimination in the lawsuit against Illinois Central, a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway.
"They called all of these events horseplay, and they advised me to come back to work, get over it, and move on," he said, the AP reports.
But Illinois Central spokesman Patrick Waldron said the company took disciplinary action against employees involved in the incidents. Railroad officials didn't comment on the lawsuit.
"We do not and did not tolerate that type of behavior," Waldron said in a statement, according to the AP. "Illinois Central responded immediately and appropriately that night. The company then conducted a full investigation, after which, the company took appropriate disciplinary action against employees involved in the incident, including the termination of one of those employees."
Read more at the Merced Sun-Star.