Black Boeing Employee Files Lawsuit for Racist Harassment

Boeing is facing a federal lawsuit from a Black employee who claims he was repeatedly racially discriminated against at a North Charleston, South Carolina plant. Curtis Anthony said he found a noose hanging over his desk and that his white colleagues have allegedly urinated there several times.In a June 7 lawsuit, the quality inspector said that he was a “victim to targeted racial harassment of an intentionally extreme and outrageous nature.” That harassment included his white coworkers regularly using the n-word and urinating on his desk and seat beginning in 2017, NBC News reported.

Anthony, who has worked for Boeing as a quality inspector since 2011, also claimed that racial placards were placed by his work station with the n-word. The 57-year-old said he immediately reported the harassment to management. In response, the plane manufacturer replaced Anthony’s desk and chair, his attorney Donald Gist told NBC News.In September 2017, Anthony took medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). He received treatment for stress caused by the alleged discrimination and continues to get treatment. He returned to work in January 2018 and was bypassed for promotions by “lesser qualified Caucasian workers,” his lawsuit claims.

In March 2019, Anthony’s coworkers allegedly positioned a noose above his desk in “an act of extreme racial violence designed to intentionally inflict emotional distress,” the lawsuit said. Boeing conducted an investigation and ultimately fired the person responsible for the noose, NBC News reported.“I was born in the ‘60s,” Anthony told Live 5 News. “I’ve seen a lot in dealing with the noose and people that live on the dark side instead of living on the light side and people that will always use that as a symbol of hatred.”He continued: “It put me back to when I would see people that would represent the noose. Whether they represented it or not, it just brought back bad memories from my past.”

Anthony claimed that after complaining about the harassment, he was the subject of retaliation, such as being moved to a building with no air conditioning. Boeing is accused of race-based discrimination, “retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of the Family [and] Medical Leave Act, and breach of contract and breach of contract with fraudulent intent,” according to court documents cited by The Washington Post. While the company fired the employee found responsible for the noose, it failed to take Anthony seriously when he reported previous incidents, Gist told The Post.

Anthony continues to work for the company but has placed “his job, his career, his support of his family, on the line to speak out against racial injustice,” his attorney said.

Boeing did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for comment. However, a spokesman for Boeing told NBC News that while Anthony is “a valued Boeing South Carolina teammate,” his claims were not valid. “Mr. Anthony’s requests for FMLA leave have been consistently and repeatedly approved by the company in an expeditious manner,” the company said in a separate statement to The Washington Post. “Moreover, 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.”

Anthony’s lawsuit seeks “compensatory and punitive” damages from Boeing. “Boeing’s going to have to step up to the plate,” Gist said, adding that he hoped Boeing would take the steps to prevent discrimination. “They need to do sensitivity and diversity training.” The noose has long been a hateful symbol of discrimination against African Americans. This association exists due to the history of lynching in the US following the Civil War, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Lynchings were a common method of mob justice amid rising racial tensions in the late 1800s.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has recorded nearly 5,000 lynchings in the United States from 1882 to 1968. Of those lynchings, an estimated 79 percent occurred in the South. Black people were particularly targeted and accounted for 72.7 percent of the 4,743 lynchings that occurred during that time period.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.