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Low Ryder? Rental company sued for racial discrimination

You can rent a Ryder truck at more than a dozen locations across the Milwaukee area and the state of Wisconsin. The company rents more than 37,000 vans, moving trucks, 18-wheelers and commercial trailers to consumers of any size, shape, color or background.

But Ryder and a staffing agency it uses to find workers are accused of subjecting African American workers to racial harassment and retaliation, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, black employees assigned by staffing agency Kimco Staffing Services, Inc. to work at Ryder, as well as African American employees who were hired directly by the transportation company "were subjected to ongoing and unwelcome harassment based on their race."

Racial slurs and epithets were hurled at Ryder and Kimco employees on a daily or weekly basis, the lawsuit states. When an employee complained about the racial harassment, neither company took action to correct the problem. Worse, the employee who complained was fired within days of reporting the harassment.

Workplace racial harassment is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as is retaliation by the employer against a worker who complains about harassment.

The racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit asks for compensation for a class of employees, as well as measures to prevent and correct future occurrences of racial harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

An EEOC spokesperson said the federal agency continues to receive allegations of "racism in the workplace" and that employers must create "policies and practices that ensure a workplace free of discrimination and harassment."

If a Milwaukee employer has subjected you or fellow employees to unlawful discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, disability, pregnancy or sexual orientation, contact the law office of Alan C. Olson and Associates to discuss your legal options.

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