Andrea Cureton has filed a lawsuit against Habitat for Humanity in Columbus, alleging the store manager, Abby Davis, continuously made racist comments towards black people.
Cureton started working at Habitat of Humanity in November 2015 as a volunteer coordinator. She claimed that she heard Davis say multiple derogatory remarks against black people.
In one incident, Cureton alleged that Davis called her a shy monkey. She reported the incident to the executive director who said, “You’ve got Abby wrong, and if you are going to be like that then let’s just be professional and keep it at that.”
Cureton also claimed that Davis referred to her childhood nanny as a “big black woman” and “stinky” and complained that “black men did not know how to fill out applications” and would assign the least desirable jobs to black employees.
The events that led Cureton quitting her position began on Feb. 21. On that day, she was wearing a hood and Davis said to her, “Hey Hoodwinked and Bamboozled.” When Cureton told executive director Kathy Arinder about the incident, she responded with, “Just deal with it.”
Cureton allegedly heard Davis ask Arinder, “What are you going to do? Write me up?” as they both laughed.
According to the lawsuit, things got worse after that and the women started yelling at Cureton. She said that Arinder didn’t appropriately address Davis’ racist behavior, and Arinder allegedly told her that she needed to “extend more grace” to Davis.
Arinder sent Cureton home the following day. Cureton resigned on Feb. 22 because she was afraid that she would be terminated.
Tony Dunser, board president of the organization, said that Arinder and Davis still work at Habitat for Humanity.
“The board is looking into this seriously,” Dunser said. “We’re going to take every allegation that comes up …. We’re going to be proven innocent on all of them.”‘