Racial discrimination in the workplace is illegal, and yet workers across the state of Wisconsin continue to face unfair working conditions because of something they have no control over — the color of their skin. General Motors recently came under fire for allegedly allowing rampant workplace discrimination in at least one of its manufacturing plants. The nine black workers suing the company claim that they were subjected to ongoing acts of racial discrimination.
Two of the men involved in the lawsuit were supervisors at the plant in question. They outlined instances of repeated racial harassment, citing the use of discriminatory language from their peers and subordinates. According to their claims, the white employees they were supervising frequently ignored them. The lawsuit also asserts that white workers wore clothing with hate images underneath their company uniforms.
The men say that they reported these and other acts of abuse, but the matters were often overlooked. A white employee who made threatening remarks against one of his black supervisors was sent to a disciplinary hearing and supposedly admitted to making the remarks. However, he was put back on the job without facing any type of disciplinary action. The supervisor who had made the complaint was told to let it go.
Their suit goes on to describe increasingly aggressive forms of harassment and discrimination, which went largely ignored by those in charge. Since the lawsuit was filed, GM has stated that it is dedicated to providing environments that are free from workplace discrimination, but it is unclear how effective these efforts have been thus far. However, it does highlight an important aspect of filing these types of suits. Successful claims are not only useful for achieving necessary compensation for victims, but they often act as the push that some Wisconsin companies need to enact improved conditions for workers.