A jury ordered Boeing to pay Roderick Marshall $350,000 on Thursday for having a hostile work environment and failing to prevent racial harassment and discrimination.
During the five-day trial, Marshall, who is African-American, discussed the series of racist jokes he endured while working at the company and said they were unreported by supervisors.
Marshall described a specific incident last year when he was sitting at a workroom table in the El Segundo facility and looking at one of his co-workers. He claimed the co-worker fiddled with some rope and then threw it toward him. When he caught the rope, it was tied into a hangman’s noose.
“It’s part of our history, it’s part of where we came from,” Steve Haney, Marshall’s attorney, said. “What could be more offensive than reminding an African-American that years ago, not that many years ago, but years ago, African-Americans were taken out and hung (sic) by the neck?”
Marshall also claimed in his lawsuit that he wasn’t chosen to work on launches of commercial satellites several times while workers with less seniority were selected.
Boeing isn’t happy with the verdict and is currently weighing its options. In a statement, the Boeing said “that the company acted appropriately at all times. Treating others with respect and refraining from any type of harassment is central to our team values and aspirations as a company.”
Marshall isn’t the only employee who filed a lawsuit against aerospace firm. In May, seven other black employees took legal action against the El Segundo facility. They accused Boeing of hiring them into lesser positions and passing them over for promotions because of the color of their skin.
“In the lawsuit we have filed, there are numerous instances of upper level Boeing management personnel favoring their Caucasian friends and relatives against the interest of African-American employees who had at least equal or superior job experience, education and qualifications,” Haney said. “This conduct not only smacks of nepotism, but also constitutes violations of fair employment within the state of California.”
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