3 female Michigan morgue workers fired for eating Black penis cake at office a day after George Floyd died

Offensive images were put on public display, including on computer screen-savers


                            3 female Michigan morgue workers fired for eating Black penis cake at office a day after George Floyd died
(Getty Images)

In the middle of the Black Lives Matter protests across the cities in the country, shocking revelations about sexual harassment and racism have surfaced from Michigan. Three women staff members of a medical examiner’s office in the state have been sacked amid a probe into accusations of creating a ‘toxic work environment’ that included the disturbing charges. 

According to a report in Macomb Daily, the three employees of the Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office were accused of displaying pornographic images of mostly male members in the office and on their computers. Last week, the three, including two morgue technicians and an investigator, were dismissed after a due-process procedure known as Loudermill hearing that came up after an employee filed a complaint on July 18, Mocamb County officials said. A fourth employee -- a manager -- remains on paid administrative leave on charges of allowing such conduct in office, the official sources added.

A man holds a Black Lives Matter sign as a police car burns during a protest on May 29, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. Demonstrations are being held across the US after George Floyd died in police custody on May 25th in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Getty Images)

Offensive images were put on public display, including on computer screen-savers. What made it worse was that the day after George Floyd was brutally killed by the police in Minneapolis on May 25, a cake decorated with a Black penis on it appeared in the office’s conference room. It was that cake that pushed one employee to file the complaint with the federal government, according to Detroit Free Press. The complainant -- a woman of color who works as a death investigator there -- had always been wanting to do so but feared a retaliation. But the vulgar cake triggered things. 

'Racist office culture'

"I was livid — furious actually. All these cities are on fire for the Black Lives Matter movement, and here's my staff eating a black penis cake as a joke? That really pushed me over the edge,” she told the Free Press recently. She then moved the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Macomb County. She also alleged that she has been witnessing such misconduct for at least five years now. 

In her complaint, she said: “There has been an ongoing hostile work environment within the Medical Examiner's Office since I have been here. The office culture is tainted with racism toward people of color. This was not only ignored by managing personnel, but participated in by the supervising staff.”

This is the second EEOC complaint to be filed against the same morgue in recent years. The previous one alleging similar claims was filed in 2016 and it is still pending. Mocamb County Human Resources Director Andrew McKinnon was quoted as saying by the Free Press: “We don’t want anyone working in a place that’s unwelcoming, unsafe and not inclusive. We’re supposed to set an example. When we hear these types of allegations, we take them seriously and we take quick action.” But while he said the three employees were terminated because of their involvement in sexual discrimination at the workplace and not for racism which the investigators could not substantiate, the complainant said a different story. 

Instances of racist discrimination

The death investigator said she has often overheard “blatant and over racist communications” among a supervisor and other staff members while dealing with African-American families who came to the morgue looking for their loved ones. “Are they a Black family?” was a question she often heard when dealing with upset families, she said, the report added. 

Giving details about her experience, she said once a decomposed body of an African-American man came to the morgue and when his parents faced difficulties in identifying the body, one of the morgue workers allegedly advised her to show them a picture of the dead man’s penis so that his family could recognize him.

On other occasions, the complainant was reportedly asked to identify bodies of African-Americans whose families were considered “hostile” or “difficult” by the office staff members. She was even asked to “go deal with your people” whenever the kin of the dead African-Americans showed up at the morgue.

If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514