Black Boeing employee claims coworkers urinated on workspace, left noose hanging over desk, sues company
An African -American Boeing employee has filed a federal lawsuit against the aviation company alleging racial discrimination after he found a noose hanging near his desk, signs near his workspace with the n-word, and multiple other such incidents over the past two years.
57-year-old Curtis Anthony, a quality inspector since 2011 on the 787 Dreamliner at the Boeing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, said Boeing fostered a "racially hostile" work environment, and has sued the company over discrimination on the basis of race, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of the Family Medical Leave Act, and breach of contract.
In the lawsuit, filed on June 7, Anthony, who is still employed by the aerospace giant, says the harassment began in May 2017, which is when his coworkers, who are"primarily Caucasian" workers, allegedly began to engage in "intentionally extreme and outrageous" harassment.
This reportedly included them urinating on his seat and desk numerous times. "It was demeaning, I really didn't want to work, so they had to move my desk, they had to move my chair, I really couldn't perform the duties I am paid to do," Anthony told ABC News. "I had to wait till they cleaned the area, brought me a new chair, a new desk."
He claimed in the lawsuit that the co-workers used the n-word on a "daily basis," something he insisted should not be happening in this day and age. "I hope that this shouldn't be tolerated in America at this day and time," he said. "This is not 1819, this is 2019. Regardless of color, people should say something against it and anything that's harmful against anyone."
Then, in March 2019, after returning to the plant following a two-month stint in New Orleans, he said he found a noose hanging above his desk. "The significance and historical symbolism of hanging a noose over an African American's head is telling them you're going to lynch them," said Donald Gist, Anthony's lawyer. "It's not only a symbol, it's a direct threat of violence."
Anthony said he reported the incident immediately and that nothing was done despite having raised the issue with his supervisors and management, who promised the complaints would be addressed.
The experiences across the past two years, he said, resulted in him taking medical leave to seek treatment for "mental anguish and emotional distress" under the Family and Medical Leave Act and relapse in his sobriety.
Anthony claimed he even faced retaliation after complaining about the harassment and taking the leave. He said he was moved by the management into a building with no air-conditioning and that he was passed over for "numerous" promotions in favor of "lesser qualified Caucasian workers."
In a statement to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Boeing South Carolina spokesperson Libba Holland said Anthony was a "valued South Carolina teammate" but that there was "no validity to his allegations."
"In fact, Mr. Anthony’s requests for FMLA leave have been consistently and repeatedly approved by the company in an expeditious manner," the statement read.
The statement also claimed that he had not raised any of the issues brought up in the lawsuit to the relevant authorities.
"Moreover, most of Mr. Anthony’s allegations were never brought to the attention of management, giving the company no opportunity to investigate these claims," it said, adding, "The single issue (noose above his desk) he did raise was dealt with promptly and in a fair manner."