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Warehouse workers awarded 15Million after bosses segregated employees by race and called them 'lazy, stupid Africans'

  • Seven workers for Matheson Trucking and Matheson Flight Extenders Inc. in Denver, Colorado won the $15 million payout on Wednesday 
  • Their lawsuit claimed that black employees worked on one side while white employees worked on the other, and staff regularly used racial slurs
  • One worker said all 'n*****s' should be shot - and was not reprimanded
  • One of the plaintiffs was a white single dad who complained about the treatment - and was fired shortly afterwards, the lawsuit said
  • But an attorney for the company denied the accusations and said they would appeal the decision

Seven warehouse workers have been awarded nearly $15 million by a federal jury after their bosses segregated workers by race and called black employees 'lazy, stupid Africans'.

Among the plaintiffs was a white whistleblower who lost his job shortly after complaining about the racist treatment at Matheson Trucking and Matheson Flight Extenders Inc., according to the lawsuit.

The verdict in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday includes $13 million in punitive damages, $318,000 in back pay for workers who were fired for being black, and another $650,000 for emotional distress, the Denver Post reported.

Matheson, a company based in Sacramento, California that transports mail for the U.S. Postal Service and private companies, such as FedEx, also was ordered to pay the workers' legal costs. 

Lawsuit: Mahamet Camara, left, and Macire Diarra, right, were among seven warehouse workers who were awarded $15 million by a jury after their employers discriminated against them for being black

According to the lawsuit, black employees worked on one side of the Commerce City warehouse and whites worked on the other side.

White staff were accused of using racial epithets and calling employees 'lazy, stupid Africans', and on one occasion, an employee yelled that all black people should be shot - and used the 'n' word.

The workers added that the treatment became much worse after 2007, when Leslie Capra became the station manager and was 'more openly hostile towards black employees' - and encouraged others to act in the same way, according to the lawsuit.

Six of the plaintiffs were black - many were from the African country of Mali and one was from Brazil - and one plaintiff was a white whistleblower who was fired for challenging the company's practices.

After complaining, he said he was branded 'the tribe's assistant', by bosses, the lawsuit said.

'Basically, I did the right thing. This isn't 1960 anymore,' said the white employee, Dean Patricelli.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in 2010, workers were discriminated against in all phases of employment, including hiring, termination, conditions of employment, promotion, vacation pay, furlough, discipline, work shifts, benefits and wages.

Workplace: Attorneys for Matheson Trucking and Matheson Flight Extenders Inc., which transports mail for the U.S. Postal Service and private companies, such as FedEx, said they will appeal the jury's decision

Workplace: Attorneys for Matheson Trucking and Matheson Flight Extenders Inc., which transports mail for the U.S. Postal Service and private companies, such as FedEx, said they will appeal the jury's decision

Accused: The lawsuit said the treatment became more commonplace when Leslie Capra, pictured, became the station manager in 2007. She was 'openly hostile' to black employees, according to the lawsuit

Accused: The lawsuit said the treatment became more commonplace when Leslie Capra, pictured, became the station manager in 2007. She was 'openly hostile' to black employees, according to the lawsuit

For example, all employees liked working holidays because they would get double pay. But supervisors gave the shifts only to white employees, including those with less seniority than their black counterparts. 

'I thought I was back South again with the same old racist attitudes,' said plaintiff Ernie Duke.

But Matheson attorney Stacey Campbell said the company 'prides itself on hiring and employing a highly diverse workforce consisting of men and women of different races and cultures.'

She said Matheson would appeal the jury's decision.

The plaintiffs, who were part-time workers, were Patricelli, Duke, Mahamet Camara, Andre De Oliveira, Bemba Diallo, Salif Diallo and Macire Diarra.

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Comment by Pearl Green on February 16, 2015 at 12:43am

Everyone should send letters of complaint to the U.S. Postal Service to stop using this company as a subcontractor for moving mail, as this company violates the U.S. Postal Services and Fedex discriminatory policies.   Put them out of business!

Comment by vaughn mitchell on February 13, 2015 at 12:58am

pay up racist a*******, I guess they think its the 60's.

Comment by Roots aka TJ What De Ras on February 12, 2015 at 10:46pm
They need to lose their gov contracts. I'm quite sure the postal service is paying them very well to move the mail
Comment by GUNMAN ah Come on February 12, 2015 at 2:46pm
Pay up, please. And on to the next racist establishment. One by one, they'll be exposed, held accountable and endure financial punishment. Nah play wid dem.
Comment by Cee Gee on February 12, 2015 at 2:37pm

This is not a surprise...this go on at many jobs.  Glad they won the case tough.

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