A construction company is being accused of discriminating against Black workers and firing two employees after they complained about a hostile workplace, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The suit, filed on Sept. 30, alleges that while working on a job site for the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Black employees were subjected to segregated crews, port-a-potties covered in graffiti with derogatory phrases like “go back to Africa” and references to the KKK and white power.
According to the EEOC’s news release, the agency believes that Whiting-Turner violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on race and retaliation against complainants.
Here’s more about the lawsuit from the Charlotte Observer:
At least two Black men were placed at the site through a temporary staffing agency that year.
The EEOC said both were assigned to an “all-Black sub-crew” that was frequently given the most physically challenging and least-desirable jobs. Those assignments often entailed working “outdoors without shade” while their white counterparts worked indoors, the complaint states.
The all-Black crew was led by a white supervisor who is accused of frequently referring to them as “boy,” “mother f___ers” and “you.”
According to the complaint, he also told them to “get ya black a__es back to work.”
When one of the employees complained to a supervisor, he was reportedly told to “let it go” because the White crew leader was “old-fashioned.”
Whiting-Turner, a construction management and general contracting company based in Maryland, employed these men to work on Google’s $600 million data center in Clarksville, Tenn., the Observer notes.
The suit says the employees complained about what they experienced from at least May 2018 through the fall of 2019, but Whiting-Turner failed to investigate the complaints and then fired two employees the same day they spoke up during a team meeting in September 2018.
Whiting-Turner did not respond to the EEOC when the agency reached out to talk about solutions during the summer, according to the Observer. The suit is seeking back pay for the employees, damages for a proposed class of Black employees who worked there at the time and an injunction to prevent the company from further discriminatory employment practices. Whiting-Turner has not issued a statement about the suit.