9 auto plant workers sue GM for racial discrimination

Many people view employment at the General Motors plant in Tennessee, but racial discrimination can taint even good jobs. A lawsuit representing nine current and former employees of one of the company's facilities alleges that the African-American workers suffered racial intimidation at the hands of white co-workers. Court documents claim that GM did not adequately respond to complaints about civil rights violations.

Two of the plaintiffs who worked as shift supervisors between 2015 and 2018 have spoken publicly about the ongoing threats and harassment that they experienced before leaving the company. Most of the other seven plaintiffs are long-term employees who continue to work at the plant. Their allegations describe co-workers hanging nooses around the workplace repeatedly, wearing clothing with Nazi symbols, writing offensive graffiti, posting "whites only" signs on restrooms and calling people derogatory racial nicknames.

Company management investigated the noose incidents and suspended one worker for 30 days for engaging in horseplay. GM also shut down plant operations for a day to conduct worker training supposedly related to racial discrimination. Despite management's efforts to address racism among plant workers, the plaintiffs described an atmosphere where racist conduct proliferated.

Experiencing racial or other forms of workplace discrimination can be very isolating for an individual. Legal representation might empower a person who needs to confront an employer about illegal conduct. An attorney could advise the person about how to collect evidence and then organize the information for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As a case advances, an attorney could strive to negotiate a settlement prior to taking the case to court.

Source: Car And Driver, "General Motors Sued over Claims of Racial Intimidation inside Ohio Plant", Clifford Atiyeh, Jan. 18, 2019

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