Four Black construction workers at Mitsubishi Electric have filed a lawsuit over ongoing racial discrimination at their workplace. The Black employees, who work in the in the escalator and elevator division, claim that their supervisors have harassed them with racial slurs and images and have discriminated against them when it came to
- advancing their careers
- receiving pay increases
- participating in further training opportunities
The lawsuit also notes that the Black employees largely were victims of harassment at San Francisco area jobsites. They first reported the harassment to Mitsubishi Electric human resources personnel in 2016. However, the company didn’t address their complaints.
The employees allege that that the company’s inaction led to a hostile work environment. In fact, one worker suffered a stroke, possibly in part because of the stress the harassment and discrimination caused. He also was fired while recovering at home.
The most serious allegations the Black employees detailed in the suit include the following:
- Supervisors referring to them as “undesirables” and “lazy,” using the N word, and joking about lynching
- Images of black monkeys, the KKK and swastikas appearing around jobsites
- A noose appearing at the workers’ company jobsite
- Supervisors giving the Black workers menial jobs and making them helpers to white workers
The Black employees are seeking monetary compensation in their suit. They also want Mitsubishi Electric to commit to
- providing better training about racial discrimination
- conducting thorough investigations into racial discrimination and harassment complaints
- taking immediate and effective action to remove racist graffiti from jobsites
In various news reports, the Black employees stated that they decided to take this action because they wanted to ensure a better work environment not only for themselves, but for others.
Discriminating against or harassing employees because of their race or ethnicity, even over their skin tone or hair texture, is illegal. If you feel you face harassment, intimidation or discrimination for racial reasons, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney. An attorney can review your situation and help you fight against workplace racial discrimination.