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6 former employees sue Charlotte company alleging racist practices

CHARLOTTE — Six former employees have filed lawsuits against a north Charlotte company alleging racial and pay injustices.

The lawsuit was filed by six former Black male employees, five of whom are from our area. It claims Carolina Environmental Response Team paid white employees more, had no Black supervisors or managers, and created a hostile work environment.

The suit includes evidence of a racist text message allegedly sent by a white supervisor. The plaintiffs allege on or around June 19, 2021, a white supervisor at the company sent a message on a group text thread of 16 employees that read “Happy Father’s Day and happy Juneteenth” followed by a racist slur.

One of the six Black employees suing the company immediately responded, writing, “I really do not appreciate that one bit and nothing is funny about that.”

The former employees claim that supervisor “previously made racist jokes and statements.”

“As an example, this supervisor would refer to black employees as ‘good ol’ boys,’” the lawsuit reads, and goes on to say they also made racist stereotypes about the food they ate.

The former employees claim they informed ownership and showed them proof but nothing was done.

CERT USA does cleanup, transport and disposal for emergency spills, flooding, and hazardous waste. Channel 9 spoke to the president of the company, who didn’t deny the text was sent. He did claim that white employee was not a supervisor, adding that he stayed in the job for about a year after the incident and eventually resigned on his own.

The former employees said they were never promoted and were paid less than their white counterparts, and were fired as retaliation for filing a legal complaint.

Channel 9 spoke to the attorney for the Carolina Environmental Response Team, who said he cannot comment on pending litigation.

The former employees are seeking at least $30,000 in damages, attorneys fees and costs, back pay, and their jobs back.

(WATCH BELOW: Amid racist incidents in North Carolina, experts see increase in hate speech posts on social media)

Evan Donovan

Evan Donovan, wsoctv.com

Evan is an anchor and reporter for Channel 9.

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