Owners and operators of a construction site in Clarksville, Tennessee, are finding out the hard way that Black workers are not putting up with the racist work environments many of them are used to being able to maintain with white supremacist impunity. The company is now facing a lawsuit accusing it of violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act by openly discriminating against its Black employees through racist language, racist graffiti and even what has been perceived as a form of segregation. The suit also claims that two Black workers on the site were fired after complaining about racism.
According to The Sacramento Bee, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—a federal agency that handles the enforcement of anti-workplace discrimination laws—filed the lawsuit last Thursday against the aptly named Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, which is a general contractor that worked on the Google data center in Clarksville.
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The suit claims that Black employees were basically designated to an “all-Black sub-crew” that was usually given all the physically demanding grunt work no one else wanted to do and were forced to “outdoors without shade” while white employees worked comfortably inside. And if that wasn’t already giving you big modern-day plantation vibes, the suit also claims the all-Black crew was overseen by a white supervisor that regularly called them “boy” and “mother f**ker” and even told them, “get ya black a**es back to work.”
When an employee complained about the racist treatment, he was told to “let it go” by other white supervisors because their massa’-like boss was really just “old fashioned.” (A lot of white people don’t understand that, given America’s history, “old fashioned” hits different for Black people than it does for them.)
The EEOC also said porta-potties at the construction site were covered in racist graffiti that included the words “go back to Africa” and references to the Ku Klux Klan and white power—which isn’t surprising seeing as this business sounds like an ode to Reconstruction-era sharecropping from the KKK glory days.
The lawsuit was reportedly prompted after two Black employees complained in 2018 about all the flagrant racism at the site and were subsequently fired because that’s easier to do than to actually make policy changes for the caucasified chang-gang-like operation the supervisors are accused of running.
The EEOC “sent a letter to Whiting-Turner on Aug. 17 finding there was reasonable cause to believe it violated federal law,” according to the Bee.
The lawsuit seeks damages for the mistreated Black employees, back pay for the workers who were fired for complaining and an injunction preventing the company from continuing to be a white supremacist’s wet dream.