Lawsuit filed after workers record supervisor making racial slur - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lawsuit filed after workers record supervisor making racial slurs

Harris (right) and his co-worker, Marrio Mangrum, were let go after both men filed racial discrimination complaints. Harris (right) and his co-worker, Marrio Mangrum, were let go after both men filed racial discrimination complaints.
Three workers filed a suit against a Atkinson Cotton Warehouse and Federal Compress Warehouse Company for racial harassment. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Three workers filed a suit against a Atkinson Cotton Warehouse and Federal Compress Warehouse Company for racial harassment. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - After reported degrading comments, unwanted physical contact, and threats, three workers filed a suit against a Atkinson Cotton Warehouse and Federal Compress Warehouse Company for racial harassment.

Untiono Harris recorded conversations on his cell phone, because he thought no one would believe the kind of racial slurs his supervisor made. Harris shared the recordings with WMC Action News 5 in June.

On one recording, Harris says he was attempting to drink from the water fountain when the supervisor stopped him.

[Beginning of audio recording]

Supervisor: Hey.

Antonio: What?

Supervisor: I need to put a sign here that says "Whites Only."

Antonio: Put up your sign on the wall then, because I'm fixing to drink it (drinks water). What do they do when they catch me drinking your water?

Supervisor: That's when we hang you.

[End of audio recording]

A similar incident was recorded when Harris tried to use the microwave. He and his co-worker, Marrio Mangrum, were let go after both men filed racial discrimination complaints.

"He didn't use the n-word, but he used the word 'monkey' a lot," Mangrum told WMC Action News 5 last spring. "When you see the white tape on it, that's a white man's lift."

Federal Compress released a statement after the recordings went public, saying the company maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy regarding discriminatory conduct. The Chief Executive Officer wrote, " [The company] conducted a thorough and extensive investigation. The person was immediately removed from that workplace, and is in fact no longer employed by Federal Compress."

The lawsuit, announced by three attorneys Monday, claims both the warehouse and the company failed to enforce anti-discrimination policies or procedures in the workplace.

Vashone Ford is the third worker included in the lawsuit. 

The complaint alleges that all three men have experienced fear, trouble sleeping, and embarrassment; it asks that for relief, compensatory and punitive damages be awarded.

Read the full complaint by following the link: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wmctv/Cotton%20Warehouse%20Complaint.pdf.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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