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GM Offering $25K Reward to Catch Noose Hangers

Company ups effort to end racist acts in Ohio plant.

by on Feb.12, 2019

Several employees have reported incidents of racial intimidation at GM's powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio.

General Motors’ battle against racist acts in an Ohio plant is getting more serious as the automaker is now offering a $25,000 reward to anyone who has information about nooses and other racist symbols appearing at the site.

The company began offering the $25,000 reward in January at the GM Powertrain plant in Toledo, after a string of complaints from employees about the behavior of other employees starting in early 2017 and symbols evolved into a lawsuit against the company in the fall of 2018.

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“We have zero tolerance for discrimination, and we’re doing everything we can to identify the culprit. This is another step we’ve taken, working with police to intensify the investigation,” GM said in a statement to the Free Press. “We’re outraged that anyone would face threats, and our hearts go out to anyone affected by this bigotry.”

The reward is offered through a CrimeStoppers program overseen by Toledo police and the FBI. Lynn Shecter, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against GM, said the reward was “Better late than never.”

(GM, Ford smacked with harassment lawsuits. Click Here for the story.)

“Hopefully it will get some results so that this doesn’t happen again and people learn this is unacceptable behavior,” Shecter, a partner at Roy, Shecter and Vocht, in Birmingham, Michigan, told the Free Press. She added there is no court date for the lawsuit.

GM is being sued by a group of employees who alleged they were harassed by others using racial slurs and threats, including nooses.

GM has said it has taken several steps to address the improper behavior, even stopping production to train workers on antiharassment and antidiscrimination policies after several complaints were filed.

Two supervisors at the facility were taunted, disrespected and their complaints ignored by management, including the discovery of a noose in an area where one of the men worked in March 2017.

(Click Here for more about GM expecting bigger profits, more transformation in 2019.)

Former supervisor Marcus Boyd told CNN the powertrain plant was a workplace where people declared bathrooms were for “whites only,” where black supervisors were denounced as “boy” and ignored by their subordinates, where black employees were called “monkey,” or told to “go back to Africa.”

A fellow supervisor, Derrick Brooks, and Boyd were so concerned for their well-being that they would check in with each other throughout the day, borrowing military-style language favored by former Marine Brooks, telling each other “I’ve got your six,” meaning they were watching each other’s backs.

In addition to the noose, Boyd and Brooks were subjected to a variety of slurs, including the N-word, on a daily basis. Despite repeated complaints to plant management, little or nothing was done to address the issues. According to the lawsuit Boyd and eight other black employees filed against GM for allowing an “underlying atmosphere of violent racial hate and bullying.”

(To see more about actor/musician Sting supporting GM’s Oshawa plant workers, Click Here.)

“Discrimination and harassment are not acceptable and in stark contrast to how we expect people to show up at work,” GM said in an earlier statement. “General Motors is taking this matter seriously and addressing it through the appropriate court process.”

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