A Black former Navy technician is suing a Florida heavy equipment company after his supervisor allegedly said “all n—–s are good for is cleaning.”
Shakeem Petersen was the only Black technician in his department at Ring Power when he said he dealt with a glass ceiling, demotion and co-workers joking about “being nothing more than a maid” over a four-year time-span, according to the Miami Herald.
Petersen filed a racial discrimination lawsuit in federal court, the newspaper reported.
The company, which is based in St. Augustine, told the Herald Tuesday it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Petersen, who was hired at the company in July 2013, accuses his supervisor, Joshua Carlson, of singing lead in a racist chorus, the Herald reported.
The suit the Herald obtained listed 11 racist comments Petersen heard directly or indirectly from Carlson.
Some of those comments included:
“N—–s don’t know what they are doing,” and “n—–s are lazy.”
“Because of Petersen’s race, Carlson routinely assigned Petersen janitorial work assignments such as sweeping, mopping and buffing Ring Power’s shop’s floors throughout Petersen’s employment at Ring Power,” an attorney for Petersen said in the lawsuit. “According to Carlson, ‘All n—– are good for is cleaning.’”
The suit alleges that Carlson recommended Petersen be terminated, which led to a demotion to an apprentice technician, a pay cut from $18.50 an hour to $14 an hour and cleaning assignments even after he graduated from the apprentice technician program, the Herald reported.
“Non-Black technicians were given interesting and challenging work assignments,” the suit alleged. “Petersen was given menial, humiliating and degrading work assignments. Non-Black technicians routinely joked about Petersen being nothing more than a maid — not a technician.”
Peterson said he took his complaints to management and threatened to quit Oct. 9, 2017, but a manager failed to follow up with him until his resignation became effective Oct. 19, 2017, the Herald reported.