Matheson Trucking and Matheson Flight Extenders, Inc., will have to pay seven workers a sum total of $15 million for acts of segregation and discrimination, a judge in Colorado has ruled.
The lawsuit was launched in 2010, according to the Root, and it alleged that managers at the Matheson company called black workers “lazy, stupid Africans” and segregated them from white co-workers. Making matters worse, some managers were even said to have used the n-word when referring to African-American employees.
The judge’s ruling also found that Matheson discriminated against its black employees “in all phases of employment, including hiring, termination, conditions of employment, promotion, vacation pay, furlough, discipline, work shifts, benefits and wages,” according to the Daily Mail.
Of the plaintiffs, the Denver Post notes that many were “from the African country of Mali,” while another was from Brazil and still another was a white whistleblower. The managers reportedly dubbed the white man — Dean Patricelli — the “tribe’s assistant.”
Patricelli lost his job after ratting out the managers. He has no regrets.
“Basically, I did the right thing. This isn’t 1960 anymore,” he said in comments to the Post.
(One of the seven black workers, Mahamet Camara, is pictured above.)
The lawsuit alleged and was able to convince a judge that white managers had black workers work on one side of the plant away from the employees who were white or of other ethnicities.
The verdict, announced on Wednesday, “includes $13 million in punitive damages, $318,000 in back pay for workers who were fired for being black and another $650,000 for emotional distress,” the Post reported.
Stacey Campbell, a Matheson Trucking attorney, said the company “prides itself on hiring and employing a highly diverse workforce consisting of men and women of different races and cultures” and plans to appeal the decision.
Many commenters on the Root were excited about the decision and found that the fact there was a case to begin with shows how far America still has to go as a post-racial society.
“I’m happy by the verdict. It is high time we stick it to racist so-called white people. And for the record, ‘we are not living in a post racial society.’ America is just as prejudice as always. The difference is, is that most are in the closet. Appealing this case, is only for show because the higher court is going to agree with the lower court’s decision. [all sic]”
What do you think, readers? Is the Matheson Trucking case proof that America is “just as [prejudiced] as always,” or does the fact there was a white whistleblower involved count for something? Discuss in the comments section.