Workers sue city over racial discrimination

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ATLANTA --- A group of current and former workers for the city of Kennesaw in suburban Atlanta is accusing officials of an ongoing pattern of racial discrimination committed and condoned by city officials.

The lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta claims city officials used and permitted racial slurs and jokes in the workplace and threatened and belittled minority workers.

Willie Smith, Stanley Mitchell and Gary Redd filed the lawsuit against the city, including the mayor, city manager, human resources director, a city councilman and four others. Two of the plaintiffs are black; the other is Korean. All of the defendants are white.

The plaintiffs say they complained on several occasions to management about the alleged discrimination, but say the complaints were not investigated.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Mitchell continue to work for the city's public works department. Mr. Redd was fired last year.

The lawsuit outlines numerous instances of alleged racism dating back to at least 1996, when the plaintiffs say hangman's nooses were found in two city trucks. Also alleged in the suit:

- A "Whites Only" sign was placed on a bathroom door.

- A picture depicting the Confederate battle flag with a watermelon slice was displayed in the breakroom.

- Racist e-mails were sent among city officials, including depictions of a "ghetto wedding" and a link to an online video game involving the shooting and killing of Hispanics.

The plaintiffs have also filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which conducts federal investigations on such cases.

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mutt 03/12/09 - 05:32 am
Is Kennesaw stuck in the

Is Kennesaw stuck in the 50's? This type stuff became unacceptable long ago. I appreciate a joke (even racial) as much as anyone, but a joke is no longer a joke when it harasses people. There's no room for this sort of behavior in any workplace, but particularly in a government run workplace. I hope Kennesaw has to pay out big, if this stuff is found to be true. Nooses in city vehicles, and whites only signs, are way over the limit IMHO. However the Confederate flag is NOT a symbol of racism I don't care what the race baiter's say. But I can admit that these morons used it as one, which really ticks me off as well. Still I hope the city gets taught a lesson on this one, if they in fact knowingly allowed this type of behavior to go unpunished.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 03/12/09 - 07:13 am
I wonder why the Associated

I wonder why the Associated Press did not tell us how much money the lawsuit is asking for the plaintiffs?

pofwe 03/12/09 - 08:22 am
Sticks & stones may break

Sticks & stones may break their bones, (but winning a discrimination lawsuit), means words have hurt them. But the money may make them rich and make them feel better about themselves. Money is not a cure-all but it comes closer than anything we know of. What happened to a public apology. How much money did it cost the alledged victims to be "put down" by whitie? Nuttin'.

j2says 03/12/09 - 11:55 am
If you weren't there how can

If you weren't there how can you say something is bull. Only one of the plaintiffs no longer work for the city so it's not like its a bunch of disgruntled employees who got together to sue.

christian134 03/12/09 - 12:08 pm
Oh for crying out loud the

Oh for crying out loud the people who did this sort of thing are just "suffering from a malady of long term discrimination" themselves along with an appalling lack of manners and I.Q's...With everyone for the past 20 years screaming and taking abuse from every so called minority with bowed heads and folded hands what do you people expect...I don't approve of any sort of this type of "crap"...Not from either side of the table...But we, whites, have certainly had to take it for a long long time...By golly 20 years ago I would not have referenced anyone black as black but simply by generic terms as I was afraid of crossing the lines of "discrimination"...Sort of like when Black Leaders flaunt that they can stand up and yell "Burn Baby Burn" and all heck will break loose...Right now this is a way for easy money...So step up to the plate guys and prepare for your retirement all they while others like myself just say "Get over it and take it on the cuff"...

justus4 03/12/09 - 02:57 pm
They have a good chance to be

They have a good chance to be successful if the plantiffs keep talking and the EEOC determines a complete investigation is required. This kind of behavior happens daily and non-minorities rarely file a complaint because they give others the benefit of the doubt. In this case, they were correct to file suit and hopefully they will be successful.

ListenAndLearn 03/12/09 - 04:22 pm
Were there any "redneck

Were there any "redneck wedding videos"? They're on TV now. So I guess it's ok to belittle "rednecks" but not everyone else? If you can't laugh at yourself, you can't live. The "white's only" thing was over the top. The hispanic video was over the top. We're talking harrassment here, not discrimination. We're talking over the past 12 years, & only one of the plaintiffs has been fired? How many of the defendants are still employed there? justus, by non-minorities, I assume you mean "white"? They "rarely file a complaint because they give others the benefit of the doubt"? If I read that post correctly, you're right, whites rarely complain about stupid stuff that, if we take it in context (it's supposed to be funny), is funny. Blonds are the next target. Poles are sitting on the fence. Lawyers are right there with them.

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