NEW ORLEANS (CN) – A welding company segregates workers by race, houses whites only in air-conditioned bunkhouses, lets only white workers leave work early, tolerates vile racist graffiti at the worksite, and fired two black workers for complaining of it, the two welders claim in Federal Court.
Shaun Jackson and Christopher Wilson claims Wilson Welding Service violates the Civil Rights Act, maintains a hostile, racially discriminatory workplace, and fired them in retaliation for complaining of it.
Wilson Welding does on- and offshore welding across five Southern states, according to its website.
The plaintiffs say the company puts its workers in segregated sleeping quarters, with air-conditioning and lockers for white workers, but without them for black employees.
They claim the company tolerates overt racism in the workplace: “(R)acially offensive language was written on a wall at the worksite. The writing included language to the effect of: ‘nigger bitches go home, you ain’t needed;’ ‘Nigger Bitches. Fuck you all. Go home;’ and ‘Fuck all Nigger.'”
They say they reported the “racist harassment and racist graffiti to defendant’s owner and vice president, Verble Wilson, but he did nothing in response.”
The complaint adds: “At the end of employees’ rotations, which generally lasted seven or fourteen days and concluded on Sundays, Supervisor [nonparty Rikki] Gewalt permitted white employees to leave the site early in the afternoon, but required the African-American employees to work until 6:00 p.m. This meant that by the time the African-American employees were released from the rig, no stores or gas stations were open, and they had to make the several-hour trip to their homes late into the night, while the white employees were permitted to leave early in order to gas up their cars and get home at a reasonable hour.”
They add that while white employees “were permitted to work outside, African-Americans were assigned to work in filthy, cramped, non-ventilated spaces that smelled bad.”
They claim that one company actually terminated its contract with Wilson Welding, and excluded it from bidding for any more work, “due to the racial harassment.”
The men seek lost wages and punitive damages for harassment, discrimination, and civil rights violations. They are represented by C. Perrin Rome III of New Orleans.