San Francisco construction workers claim that they were fired for reporting racial discrimination to their employer, who they claim did not take any action. Now, the workers are taking an action of their own, bringing a lawsuit against their former employer.
Craig Ogans, Douglas Russell, and Don’ta Laury filed a racial discrimination and harassment claim against Clark Construction Group.
Russell alleges that from his first day, the company was rife with racial harassment.
“The day I started working there, I saw racial slurs all over the windows, the toilets, even when you go to wash your hands, you got to read something with negativity,” Russell told KRON4. Russell also confirmed the lack of action regarding the harassment he reported, saying “They didn’t do anything about it.”
Ogans claims he reached his breaking point upon finding three black toy dolls strung up by the neck as if being lynched, inside a porta potty in April. Frustrated with the lack of accountability, Ogans called the San Francisco Police Department and made an official report after taking a video. The SFPD Hate Crimes Unit is currently investigating the incident.
Laury is still working at the construction site.
A Clark Construction Group representative said in a statement:
When Clark was made aware of incidents on the 250 Howard St. job site, we swiftly notified law enforcement and have cooperated with both Bigge Crane and law enforcement in their investigation. Additionally, we took further steps to ensure that the hundreds of individuals who work on the 250 Howard St. job were made aware that harassment is not and will not be tolerated.
Ogans and Russell claim that isn’t the case, and that they were fired instead of the ones who harassed them.
“Make no mistake about it, a company has a responsibility to ensure their employees work in a safe environment,” their attorney John Burris said. He continued, “They have a duty to protect the employees from the potential of racial violence, certainly racial slurs.”
[Image via KTVU screengrab]