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A Black man who has worked at Boeing’s North Charleston, South Carolina, plant since 2011 has filed a lawsuit against the company for a “racially hostile” work environment after finding a noose hanging near his desk, signs with the N-word near his workspace and even urine covering his workspace on different occasions.
According to ABC News, Curtis Anthony, who has worked as a quality inspector since 2011 on the 787 Dreamliner, said that even after he complained to management, his work life is still “degrading.” His lawsuit also accuses the company of retaliating against him after he complained about the harassment he was facing.
“I’m not really sure who I’m walking up to. I approach people and it affects my whole overall being there,” Anthony, 57, told ABC News. It has even leaked into his home life where he said, “It affects me in a negative way.”
Anthony claimed his issues at the company began in 2017 when he was “subjected to racial harassment” at his workplace, with White coworkers allegedly urinating in his seat and on his desk.
“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 said. “I had to wait till they cleaned the area, brought me a new chair, a new desk.”
“They did that and they used the N-word several times. You just hear people say that like it’s 1817,” he added.
Anthony said that he complained to management, but was then moved to a building with no air-conditioning, something he views as retaliation.
Anthony decided to take medical leave and treat the stress he was feeling and relapse in his sobriety under the Family and Medical Leave Act. He also enrolled in Boeing’s Employee Assistance Program. However, upon his return, Anthony alleges he encountered more retaliation, being passed over on promotions that “lesser qualified” White workers ended up getting.
At the beginning of this year, in January and February Anthony worked in New Orleans for a time. Upon returning to the South Carolina plant in March, he found a noose 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. It’s not only a symbol, it’s a direct threat of violence,” Anthony’s lawyer, Donald Gist, told ABC News.
Boeing has repeatedly rebuffed all the allegations claiming that Anthony, who is still employed with the company, “is a valued Boeing South Carolina teammate”; however, “there is no validity to his allegations.”
“Most of Mr. Anthony’s allegations were never brought to the attention of management, giving the company no opportunity to investigate these claims. The single issue he did raise was dealt with promptly and in a fair manner,” a spokesperson for Boeing further insisted.
Boeing claimed that after becoming aware of the noose near Anthony’s workspace, the company investigated the person involved.