A federal jury in North Carolina has awarded two former A.C. Widenhouse employees $200,000. The employees, Contonius Gill and Robert Floyd, Jr., claim that they were subjected to a racially hostile work environment that included harassment and discrimination.
The jury also found that Gill was fired in retaliation for complaining about being subjected to racial harassment.
According to the EEOC, Gill was repeatedly subjected to unwelcome derogatory racial comments and slurs by a number of his white colleagues, including his boss, the facility’s general manager, the company’s dispatcher, several mechanics, and other truck drivers.
The comments and slurs included “n—-r,” “monkey” and “boy.” Gill testified that on one occasion he was approached by a co-worker with a noose and was told, “This is for you. Do you want to hang from the family tree?” Gill further testified that he was asked by white employees if he wanted to be the “coon” in their “coon hunt.”
Floyd testified that he also was subjected to repeated derogatory racial comments and slurs by the Widenhouse general manager and other white employees. Floyd testified that when he was hired in 2005, he was the only African-American working at the company. Floyd said the company’s general manager told him that he was the company’s “token black.” Floyd testified that on another occasion the general manager told him, “Don’t find a noose with your name on it,” and talked about having some of his “friends” visit Floyd in the middle of the night.
Both Gill and Floyd complained about the hostile work environment, but the company allegedly did not stop the harassment.