A British police department is investigating after a Black man said dealing with racist gestures and sexual assault at an auto parts company left him with depression and anxiety.
“In the end, I hated going to work, hated every minute of it. It has taken its toll. I used to be physical, I used to do football each day,” Remmel Johnson told the Daily Mail. “Now I’m on tablets for depression and anxiety, which have slowed me down.”
Johnson, 26, told the Daily Mail he was working as a delivery driver at the Birmingham-based company Robins and Day Parts when he started finding black inflated gloves at his work station.
Johnson told the Daily Mail he was also frequently called the N-word and told to watch his pockets, and in one incident a fellow worker even grabbed his groin.
“He was laughing and touching me up. He was grinding against me and touching my arse,” Johnson said, using a British word for his backside.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police told Birmingham Live it is investigating Johnson’s allegations after receiving “a report of a sexual assault and racial abuse.”
Police told the news source that an employee made the report in January 2019 about “alleged offenses throughout 2018.”
“An internal investigation was launched within the company and a 62-year-old man was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct,” police said.
Johnson, who was also suspended from the company, said the man wasn’t immediately terminated, according to the Daily Mail.
“I went to a manager and he said he’d sort it, but exactly the same thing happened the following day,” Johnson told the news site.
He said management told him to protect himself.
“When I said I was going to the police, they told me not to. They said they would sort it,” Johnson said. “I thought that meant they’d call the police.”
He said he thought the situation “was being swept under the carpet.”
“When I spoke to another black worker he just said, ‘Don’t worry about it, they’re old school,'” Johnson told the Daily Mail.
“I felt like I wasn’t wanted,” he said. “It made me feel sick. It made me want to approach them in a violent way, but that would make me look bad.
“I was in a dark place, I was hiding from people.”
Johnson was one of only three Afro-Caribbean employees among 30 others at the company, according to the Daily Mail.
Another Black worker at the company is also pursuing legal action regarding claims of racial discrimination, the news site reported.
“It is the most stressful thing in the world to go to work and know there are people who make racist comments about you,” he said.
He added that people there would say “here comes the thief,” then deem it “banter.”
“I don’t do that to them,” he told the Daily Mail. “I don’t call that banter.”