The parcel distributor has come under scrutiny for apathy and encouraging of the harrassment of workers of color
There was a time when black workers used to get harassed overtly and blatantly by their co-workers at their work-spaces. Some might recall that time to be the '60s and '70s. Though racism at the workspaces have become more subtle and not so out there, organizations do try to act in a manner that is more politically correct.
However, recent news coming out about UPS in Ohio appears to be telling that some of the people still have not moved on.
According to LocalNews8, nineteen UPS workers are suing the parcel distributor - saying that they face racial discrimination repeatedly. Moreover, they are also saying that the company did nothing to stop that from happening.
Reportedly, managers and the supervisors had actually encouraged and enabled the workers to indulge in hate at the distribution center in Maumee, Ohio.
A monkey doll in a UPS uniform. Text messages about nooses. Nineteen black workers say the company ignored racism at an Ohio UPS distribution center. https://t.co/zyo610sSLm— CNN (@CNN) 13 March 2019
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday afternoon in Lucas County Court in Ohio.
Among the many claims and the workers told that nooses were hung from above the workstation of a black employee. Furthermore, they also claimed that a monkey doll was dressed in the clothes of a UPS worker was placed near others and the N-word was used very frequently.
The workers, many of whom have been at the company for more than two decades, argue the racist comments caused reactions ranging from "fear, anger, and disgust to dismay" about the comments and lack of action from the company.
"UPS promptly investigated and took swift disciplinary action against those found to have engaged in inappropriate actions, including the discharge of two employees," UPS Director of Corporate Media Relations Glenn Zaccara told CNN when asked for comment about the lawsuit.
To some, it may come as a surprise that workers would have to be put through training in order to avoid behaving in this manner. Zaccara mentioned that since the matter has come out, the company has participated in "remedial actions", by co-operating with Ohio Civil Rights Commission. They aim to ensure that the employees are trained and also monitored its operations in order to maintain a harassment-free environment.
"The company has strict policies against harassment and discrimination," Zaccara said. "When an incident is reported, UPS takes the matter seriously, thoroughly investigates and takes appropriate disciplinary action against those found responsible for misconduct." More surprisingly, this treatment appears to have been going on for a while. According to CNN, the lawsuit details a variety of incidents that happened at the distribution center throughout the workers' years over there.
One worker says a group text message from white coworkers about possible lottery winnings in July 2016 contained "racially driven" and "offensive" messages, according to the lawsuit, including: "If you feel down and out, the noose is loose;" "Can we buy another noose with the winnings," and "Like Clint Eastwood said, 'Hang 'em High.'"
Lawyers say in the lawsuit the incident was reported to management, but no disciplinary measures were taken. The white coworkers maintained it was a joke, according to the lawsuit.
In September 2016, "a white employee of UPS stated: 'I'm late for a Klan meeting,'" according to the suit. Again, no action was taken, lawyers claim. The comment was made in front of one black coworker and one white coworker, according to the suit.
This is the one thing that Barack Obama did not do as President... confront racism in America. Black workers at UPS facility in Ohio faced decades of racial hostility, lawsuit says https://t.co/p8KPuiqVwQ— Keith Davenport (@Davenport4POTUS) 14 March 2019
Lawyers also say a white driver for UPS refused to deliver a package in September 2016 because "she did not want to deliver to 'Niggerville' or go to 'Nigger City,'" according to the lawsuit.
It does not stop there. The workers are also accusing the company for being racially biased - for denying black workers the opportunities within the company on the basis of race.
Nineteen black workers sue UPS for allowing and encouraging hate at Ohio distribution center - Democratic Underground https://t.co/a6YXzF9WOo— Dawna (@onecaliberal) 14 March 2019
"African-American employees are disproportionately employed by UPS in lower paying, strenuous, menial, part-time, or seasonal positions and systematically denied opportunities for higher paying, full-time, and supervisory positions," lawyers argue in the lawsuit.
According to the lawyers, this treatment causes the workspace to be unsuitable and uncomfortable for black employees. They are saying that all of the incidents and the prevailing bias is an example of how the company has failed them.
I can also see that youre celebrating the continuation of Jim Crow in Ohio as well... my tech start up has a choice and guess what, it’s FedEX. #dobetterUPS— AnalogKid (@digitalman131) 14 March 2019
"The paper promises of UPS to be an equal opportunity employer with zero tolerance of racist comments or conduct are, in practice, merely empty promises," lawyers for the workers say in the complaint. "African-American employees come to work each day not knowing whether a racist comment or conduct will confront them, being concerned that smirking or laughing white employees are ridiculing them because of their race, and walking on eggshells to avoid triggering a problem."