Articles Tagged with racism

Friedman & Houlding LLP filed a racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit on behalf of Gil Elie against his former employers, North Star Fishing Co., Glacier Fish Co., and Cape Horn Vessel.

Mr. Elie, who is African American, alleges in his Complaint that while fishing in the Bering Sea aboard Defendants’ vessel the F/T Cape Horn, his Latino supervisor repeatedly referred to him as  “mayate,” a derogatory Spanish slur for African Americans. Mr. Elie reported his supervisor’s use of racial slurs to Defendants’ management team, whose reaction, Elie alleges, was to admit that the manager himself had been referred to as a vulgar anti-Asian slur and to suggest that Elie respond by calling his Latino supervisor a “stupid pendejo.”  Following his complaint, he was immediately retaliated against and subjected to increasingly hostile harassment.

The environment aboard the vessel made the mistreatment against Mr. Elie uniquely severe. He was in the middle of the ocean, his contact with the outside world was limited to spotty internet connections, and the vessel was not just his place of employment, it was also his temporary home. There was simply no escape for Mr. Elie, and his Complaint alleges that Defendants played on these circumstances to amplify the abuse.

Friedman & Houlding LLP represents Doretha Steeples in her suit against Defendant BAE Systems Ship Repair, Inc., alleging a racially hostile work environment and related claims. Ms. Steeples, who is Black, began working as a skilled pipefitter at the BAE Norfolk shipyard in May 2018. Her Complaint alleges that a Caucasian coworker used racially derogatory language in front of her and others. The coworker referred to Black women as “ghetto-fabulous bitches” and “wratched-nasty hoes.” Soon after Ms. Steeples began working at the shipyard, the coworker stated in front of Ms. Steeples and others, “These fucking n*ggers get on my effin’ nerves.”

Witnesses corroborate Ms. Steeples’ allegations of racial harassment in sworn Declarations submitted with Ms. Steeples’ federal Complaint. BAE had received multiple complaints about the coworkers’ racial invectives on prior occasions. Even though BAE was already on notice of the co-worker’s racial abuse, nevertheless, Ms. Steeples reported the racial harassment to management, including to a BAE project planner and a BAE supervisor, who both stated that they would address the issue. Yet the harassment continued. Ms. Steeples endured comments from her coworker referring to Black employees as “n*ggerish” and other comments concerning the coworker’s boyfriend’s violent conduct around people of color, wherein the coworker would spew references to Black people as “n*ggers.”

When nothing was done to address the ongoing harassment, Ms. Steeples went to the Pipe Shop Foreman, Tony Featherstone, who assured Ms. Steeples that he would report her complaint to Human Resources. Ms. Steeples never heard from HR concerning her complaint.

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