Environment of Racial, Sexual Harassment at FedEx Charges Employee
Posted: Friday, November 25, 2016 – 9:56 PM
(CNS) – A black employee of a FedEx division is suing her employer, alleging management tolerated an environment of racial and sexual harassment, including a co-worker’s statement he would shoot her if he had a gun.
Jamila Nanakasse, who works at the FedEx SmartPost facility in Commerce, says her fellow employee asked her a day after the July 7 fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers what she thought of the killings, then said “if he had a gun, she would be the first person he would shoot.”
The Los Angeles Superior Court complaint, filed Tuesday, alleges harassment based on race, sexual harassment, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Nanakasse seeks unspecified damages.
A FedEx representative did not immediately reply to an email sent Friday for comment.
According to the lawsuit, began her job as an arrival and dispatch clerk in October 2015. She says that within her second week on the job, she heard employees using the Spanish translation of the “N-word,” sometimes using the slur as she walked by.
Nanakasse complained to a supervisor about the employees’ use of the derogatory term, the suit states, but the boss told her she was “doing a great job and advised her not to worry about the issue,” according to the lawsuit.
“There will always be haters,” the supervisor said, according to the lawsuit.
After her co-worker’s remarks about the Dallas shootings, Nanakasse reported him to Human Resources, the lawsuit states. She also emailed two bosses complaining about racial discrimination at FedEx, the suit states.
“I feel targeted because I am one of the only black employees at our facility and this is not my first time dealing with racism here in our hub,” she wrote, according to the complaint. “I am very exhausted, scared and feeling isolated.”
Nanakasse furher wrote that the “racism issue is coming to a huge boiling point that I feel is very unnecessary and foolish,” the complaint states.
After an investigation, the employee who made the statements about the Dallas police deaths was neither transferred nor fired, the suit states. In addition, nothing was done about the racial slurs, according to the complaint.
Nanakasse also maintains she heard sexual comments three to five times a week, including inappropriate remarks by two employees who discussed prostitutes, asked the plaintiff about a specific part of the anatomy of black men and often looked at a website featuring sexual memes.
Nanakasse suffered emotional distress from dealing with her work environment and also went to a hospital emergency room after suffering chest pains, the suit states. She also broke out in hives and felt a tingling sensation in her arms, the suit states.
Nanakasse has been on medical leave off and on since August, most recently on Nov. 16, the suit states.
“Prior to taking her leave, plaintiff was still not informed as to the results of her complaints of racial and sexual harassment,” according to the lawsuit.