Black trucker claims he was fired for complaining about Obama doll hung in effigy at company office
A Washington storage company’s only black truck driver claims he was fired for removing his supervisor’s racist display involving former President Barack Obama.
Alexander Metoyer filed a federal wrongful discharge lawsuit against “1-800-PACK-RAT” moving and storage company, which he said created a hostile working environment and failed to respond to his complaints, reported The Oregonian.
The Gresham, Oregon, man was the only black employee working at the company’s office in Puyallup, Washington, when he was hired in August 2015.
Metoyer first spotted the doll and noose in February 2016, and he immediately removed the display and put it in his desk.
He found the Obama doll hanging from a noose the following day and removed it again, according to the suit.
Metoyer was shocked by the doll the first time and “fearful of his safety” the second time, the suit claims.
The company acknowledges Metoyer emailed a photo of the doll and noose to the human resources office, which told the driver a forensic expert would be hired to analyze the phone he used — although it’s not clear that was ever done.
Metoyer’s supervisor asked “whatever happened to my Obama?” after he removed the display a second time, the suit alleges.
The suit also claims the supervisor addressed Metoyer as “boy” and suggested his clothing made him look like a “drug dealer” or “gang banger.”
Metoyer was fired in September 2016 after he successfully sought a transfer to another office, and the suit claims he was unable to afford the cost to reach an arbitration agreement with his former employer.
The company said Metoyer was fired for insubordination and unspecified performance problems, and asked for the lawsuit to be placed on hold until the former trucker could be compelled to resolve the complaint through arbitration.