Oregon-Based Truck Company Under Investigation for Racial Discrimination

An employee works on the assembly of BharatBenz trucks on the production line at the new Daimler AG truck factory in Kancheepuram, India, on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. Daimler AG will start building trucks at a new factory in southern India beginning in the third quarter as the German company looks to challenge Tata Motors Ltd. in the fast-growing market. Photographer: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oregon-Based Truck Company Under Investigation for Racial Discrimination

Five employees of color at a Daimler Trucks facility in Portland claimed that they experienced repeated racial slurs and threats from co-workers without "appropriate corrective action."

Published October 2, 2014

A complaint has been filed against Daimler Trucks North America, claiming five employees of color were subjected to repeated racial slurs and threats at the North Portland facilities, AP reports.

Oregon’s Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian filed the complaint against the heavy-duty truck and school bus manufacturer and said workers could be awarded damages, including back pay for those who quit, if the accusations are authenticated.

“Many of them have been subjected to racial slurs, have been fearful at work. Some of them have actually resigned their jobs because of the oppressive environment they believed they were in,” Avakian told KOIN 6 News. “All of those things meant we had to act quickly and filing the Commissioner’s Complaint is the way I did that.”

One Black Daimler worker alleged that a co-worker threatened him with a noose last fall and did not face "appropriate corrective action," according to the complaint.

"He told me he was going to hogtie me to the back of his truck, and when he was done with me I would be 100 pounds lighter," the employee said.

Oregon Live also reports that the discrimination may have occurred for decades, with employees facing racial slurs like the N-word, “boy,” “Toby” and “buckwheat."

A spokesperson for Daimler Trucks said, "Comprehensive face-to-face anti-harassment training” is currently being conducted at the plant." Another statement from the company announced that it was cooperating with the investigation and has hired an outside investigator to look into the charges.

Since October 2002, at least 30 civil rights complaints have been filed to the state against Daimler Trucks.

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(Photo: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Written by Patrice Peck


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