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Former Goodlettsville Waffle House employee sues over racial slur claims | The Tennessean | tennessean.com

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Man says he was dismissed from his job after complaints of harassment

Nov. 19, 2013   |
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A former employee of a Waffle House in Goodlettsville has sued the restaurant’s owners, seeking more than $250,000, alleging that he was illegally dismissed from his job in 2012 after complaining that he was being subjected to racial slurs in the workplace.

Attorneys for Robert Lunsford of Goodlettsville, who is black, initially filed the suit against Mid-South Waffles Inc. and Waffle House Inc., of Norcross, Ga., in October in Sumner County Circuit Court, but this week petitioned to move the case to U.S. District Court in Nashville.

Lunsford claims violations of the Tennessee Human Rights Act, including “unlawful retaliation” by the restaurant chain for terminating his employment after he reported the alleged workplace harassment.

The company denies the charges and said its own internal investigation found no evidence to support Lunsford’s claims.

In the suit, Lunsford says that shortly after he began working at the restaurant, “he began to be subjected to a hostile work environment based on his race, African-American. A (white) female employee regularly referred to him using racially derogatory terms” and he “asked her to stop but she did not.”

Complaints to managers and a company hotline did not stop the woman’s harassment, and a second white female employee also began using the same racial slurs, he says.

He filed a complaint with Waffle House corporate officials, and during an investigation of his claims, he was put on leave by the company and never called back to work, he says.

“Defendants finally notified (Lunsford) of the result of their investigation into his racial harassment complaint” and said “they had not found sufficient evidence to support his allegations,” the suit alleges. The letter did not address Lunsford’s employment status, he says.

Lunsford demands a jury trial and seeks lost wages, as well as “compensatory damages for emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation, loss of dignity, and damage to his reputation in an amount not to exceed $250,000.”

In an emailed statement, Waffle House management denied Lunsford’s charges, saying:

“Mid-South Waffles Inc., and Waffle House Inc., have policies in place that do not tolerate discrimination. We take these charges very seriously and fully investigate any claim. Our internal investigation did not corroborate Mr. Lunsford’s allegations about his employment with Mid-South Waffles Inc. We look forward to presenting our side of the story in the court.”

Similar case

In a similar case, Waffle House franchisee East Coast Waffles Inc. agreed to pay $25,000 to a black former employee at a Tampa, Fla., Waffle House who was fired in retaliation for “opposing race-based harassment by several customers,” according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC investigated that case and filed the suit on behalf of the worker.

An employer retaliating against a worker “for complaining about racial harassment, even from third parties such as customers, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” the EEOC said.

“The fear of retaliation can prevent employees from raising legitimate concerns with their employer, even when a company has a hotline or some other mechanism for voicing discrimination or harassment complaints,” Malcolm Medley, director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office, said in connection with the Tampa case. “All employers should carefully examine their own policies and practices to ensure compliance with civil rights law.”

Contact G. Chambers Williams III at 615-259-8076 orcwilliams1@tennessean.com.

Former Goodlettsville Waffle House employee sues over racial slur claims | The Tennessean | tennessean.com.

Categories: replace white supremacy with justice (rwswj) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Records show missing Jasper man facing federal charges

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JASPER, TX (KTRE) -New details have emerged about a 28-year-old Jasper man who disappeared Thursday of last week near Hemphill despite no leads in regards to his whereabouts.

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On Wednesday, records revealed that Alfred Wright has been charged with Theft, Embezzlement or Misapplication by bank employee in a Federal Indictment between the time periods of January 3, 2011 and January 26, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Other documents revealed Wright excused his presence during an October 30, 2012 court hearing that was scheduled in Memphis to address a potential scheduling conflict with his trial date. That date has since been moved to December 9, 2013.

The document says Wright was excused through his lawyer because he “lives in Jasper, Texas, which is roughly an eight-hour drive from Memphis, TN.”

The details come four days after the Sabine County Sheriff’s Department announced they will no longer continue the organized ground search for Wright, but will continue to search for Wright through other means.

 

While the paperwork does raise new questions as to whether or not this is a missing person’s case, Wright’s attorney Jack Irvine said Wright had maintained his innocence and despite a plea deal offered to him which had “a penalty that was not significant,” he was preparing to go to trial.

“I can tell you from getting to know Alfred that he has lived an exemplary life. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from college. He’s got a physical therapy degree. He’s got three wonderful kids and a wonderful wife and I can tell you that his disappearance again, I can’t imagine that it has anything to do with the allegations up here in Memphis,” Irvine said.

Irvine said he spoke to Wright approximately three to five days before his disappearance and actually found out Wright was missing through the Internet.

“I’m concerned about him. I’ve gotten to know him. I like him a lot and he’s missing and from what I’ve read on the Internet it sounds fairly serious,” Irvine said.

Irvine said Wright was an employee of the Memphis bank at the time the charges were filed and he was attending the University of Tennessee for physical therapy. He said Wright has actively proclaimed his innocence in the defense.

KTRE reached out to Wright’s family for a comment on the indictment charges and was told that they will no longer conduct media interviews because their lawyer have advised them not to.

Wright disappeared on November 7, 2013 after his car overheated and broke down at the CL&M liquor store on Highway 87, which is about 4 miles south of Hemphill. His family says Wright worked in Hemphill as a home healthcare physical therapist.

Jolea Ebarb, the District Manager for East Texas Home Health in Hemphill, confirmed Wright was a contracted employee for their company and would not say how long he had been working with them. She said she is “very concerned for his well being and hope things turn out OK.”

On Monday, CL&M store clerk J.R. said she was outside smoking a cigarette when she watched Wright get out of his truck, put his cell phone in his pocket, and run towards the highway heading into town.

Alfred’s mother, Rosalind Wright, said she received a cell phone call from her daughter-in-law about Alfred’s truck breaking down. She said she was on the way to Hemphill from Jasper, which is approximately a 45-minute drive, when her son disappeared.

Annilia Wright-Mosley, Alfred’s sister, says two days prior, Wright had been having car problems, as well.

“When his truck broke down two days before that with the alternator, he called my mom. He waited there by the truck and she came and he was able to go home. So, I don’t know why in the world he would take off running or going somewhere towards town,” Wright-Mosley said.

On Sunday, authorities discovered several of Wright’s items in a pasture outside of town.

“[Authorities] told me they found his shirt, his scrub shirt…they went down a few more feet [and] they found his pants, keys, and he had a little silver metal deal that kept his I.D. and his credit cards in,” Rosalind Wright said.

The pasture is located on Coussons Drive, which is a very dark road deep in the roads.

“It’s bizarre. My son would never come down that dark road by himself…walking or running,” Rosalind Wright said.

“First of all, I know my brother and to come down a road that’s very eerie like this particular road—you would have to fight him to get him down this road,” Wright-Mosley said.

A piece of clothing was also found on a barbed wire fence on the property.

Since the reveal of the federal charges, friends and family have taken to Facebook to continue to support the search for Wright. His family has been very active in proclaiming the type of man Wright is saying he is a “good, Christian man.”

Wright graduated from Jasper High School in 2003 and went on to play football on a scholarship at Mary Hardin Baylor in 2004. He then transferred to the University of Tennessee to pursue a physical therapy degree. He and his wife Lauren have two sons. He also has a child from a previous relationship.

Wright is listed a black male, 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. Maddox says that he believes Wright is wearing little to nothing. His family admits he might be wearing black UnderArmour. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department at (409) 787-2266.

Copyright 2013 KTRE. All rights reserved.

 

Categories: replace white supremacy with justice (rwswj) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dakota Man Exposes Vile History of ‘Redskins’ – ICTMN.com

A copy of the clipping from The Daily Republican that Goldtooth posted on his site.

A copy of the clipping from The Daily Republican that Goldtooth posted on his site.

“It was only five generations ago that a white man could get money for one of my grandfather’s scalps,” writes Dallas Goldtooth on a Facebook post. “At this time…it was “Redskin” that was used to describe us.”

To the left of Goldtooth’s words, a newspaper clipping from 1863 advertises a reward, “The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.”

“The ‘Redskins’ they were talking about were my ancestors,” Goldtooth said during a phone interview. “Here in front of me was the evidence.”

Goldtooth, Dakota, from Minnesota, explained that the newspaper clipping was published after theU.S. Dakota Wars of 1862. His ancestors, the Dakota people, had just lost the war and were banished from the state. If they were found still “illegally” residing there after the war, bounty hunters targeted them. The “County ticket” that Goldtooth posted was a reminder of the past.

“The reason a lot of Dakota fled was because of that newspaper clipping,” Goldtooth said.

Goldtooth said that he first learned about this Dakota history and the word “Redskin” growing up in Minnesota. But reliving that history in the midst of the Washington NFL team’s name-change debate really struck him. “It’s a perfect visual description and tie to the past usage of the word and how people perceived Native people,” Goldtooth said. “It has a very personal attachment.”

RELATED NCAI Report: Redskins Name Has ‘Ugly and Racist Legacy’ 

A personal attachment that the NFL team’s owner, Dan Snyder, doesn’t seem to understand.Snyder’s letterto his season-ticket holders last month spelled out his reason for not changing the team’s name. He said, “Our franchise has a great history, tradition and legacy representing our proud alumni and literally tens of millions of loyal fans worldwide… We are proud of our team and the passion of our loyal fans. Our fans sing ‘Hail to the Redskins‘ in celebration at every Redskins game. They speak proudly of ‘Redskins Nation’ in honor of a sports team they love.”

“He brought up the language, ‘legacy,’” Goldtooth said of Snyder. “That’s true, but that word has a much longer legacy. That word was attached to bounty’s; is that what you want?” Despite Snyder’s letter, Goldtooth said he’s optimistic that the team will eventually change its name; but he said it would take time.

Goldtooth found the image on his friend’s Instagram account and decided to post iton his Facebook page. Currently, the post has 895 likes and 3,106 shares. The clipping is fromThe Daily Republican, a paper in Winona, Minnesota, which is one of Minnesota’s historical newspapers.

He said his post attracted two different audiences. People who did not understand how the name “Redskins” was offensive to Native Americans—saying that the name’s just the name of a football team.

For example, Felisha Suggs, who commented on the posting said, “Wow.. you should be honored to have a “Redskin” mascot! Mascot is a good thing! It shows you’re tough.. people against this are going way overboard.. it has nothing to do with race! I would love to be named a mascot!”

Goldtooth said that the other group was “of our own Native people who don’t think it’s important enough to address [the Redskins name-change debate].” Many wrote that the Native community should focus on other more important issues like, health care, poverty, and giving tribes more control over their communities. Goldtooth argued, “We can multi-task.”

“Very good thoughts, Dallas. My hope is that truly we work through our ‘multi-faceted beast’ with a multi-faceted approach, because it’s starting to look like our people get mostly active protesting how we look in pop culture,” Ishmael Angaluuk Hope wrote. “While the goal to become positively depicted in pop culture is a good one, if it’s our major effort, our work is shaped by how other people see us. Gunalchéesh.”

Goldtooth said that he was most surprised to receive comments from Natives who were unaware of the “Redskin” bounty history. “Wow. Never knew that. Thanks for teaching me something new. ‘Taikuu.’ Thank you in Inupiaq language,” one comment said.

Goldtooth’s also heard stories that were allegedly told by unnamed elders: “’There’s a story from the elders about a town that is really racist and the elders said, ‘let them be.’” He said their argument is that the past is the past and you can’t change it. “But when it’s something ongoing,” Goldtooth said, “It’s happening today, you have to address it.”

Alex Paul’s comment on Goldtooth’s post proves that people’s minds can be changed if there is a discussion. “As a white man, I just thought it was just a name (somewhat racist, but that team came out a long time ago). Now I understand where it came from, and I agree it should be changed, but it should also be remembered so we know not to use it again.”

Dakota Man Exposes Vile History of ‘Redskins’ – ICTMN.com.

 

Categories: replace white supremacy with justice (rwswj) | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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