${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
Main Menu
SPEAK WITH US TODAY 216-578-1700

Former Employees Sue Gardner Denver Nash LLC for Racial Harassment and Retaliation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|

Contact: Subodh Chandra
Subodh.Chandra@ChandraLaw.com
www.ChandraLaw.com

Complaint alleges that Gardner Denver managers in Westlake, Ohio allowed white employees to use racial epithets including the "n-word," and then fired the minority employees who reported the offensive remarks.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - Today, Charlie J. Wilson, Jr. and Luis Reyes filed suit for racial harassment, wrongful discharge, and retaliation, against Gardner Denver Nash LLC-their former employer, service-center manager Rick Kushinski, human-resources manager Kristen Fields, and two service technicians: Donald Sedelak and Christopher Taylor.

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Reyes allege that they endured a discriminatory and racially hostile environment while working at Gardner Denver's service center in Westlake, Ohio. For instance, Mr. Reyes heard other employees-including Chris Taylor and Don Sedelak-repeatedly and casually use the "n-word." And Rick Kushinski made sure that non-white employees did not congregate on the floor, while allowing groups with at least one white employee to assemble.

The plaintiffs allege that Taylor and Sedelak targeted Mr. Reyes, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, with prejudiced comments linked to his ethnicity, such as bogus accusations of Mr. Reyes stealing. One time, when Mr. Reyes spoke Spanish to an electrician, Taylor interjected: "Stop speaking that fucking gibberish" and added words to the effect, "If you want to speak that, go back to your country." (Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.) Mr. Reyes reported the comments to his group leader and then in turn to Kushinski, who promised to have handled the situation-but in fact did nothing but inform Taylor that Mr. Reyes had reported his comments. Taylor responded by attempting to intimidate the much smaller Reyes.

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Reyes allege that Sedelak called Mr. Reyes a "pump nigger," which Mr. Wilson overheard. When Mr. Wilson told Kushinski about Sedelak's racist remark, Kushinski admitted that Sedelak had used the n-word before and, again, offered assurances that he would take action. But instead of taking proper remedial action, Gardner Denver managers turned their attention to Mr. Reyes, suspending him three days after a pretextual allegation by Sedelak that Mr. Reyes had been engaging in "horseplay" with dry ice. (Mr. Reyes had explained that he stepped on a water bottle, and its top popped off.)

Later, in a conversation with Mr. Reyes, the complaint alleges, Sedelak referred to Mr. Wilson as "a whiny little f---" for reporting Sedelak's use of the n-word. Sedelak went on to use the n-word multiple times attempting to defend his use of the racial slur. When Mr. Reyes discovered that his phone's voice recorder had inadvertently recorded these most-recent remarks, he and Mr. Wilson presented the recording to Kushinski. But Kushinksi made it clear to Mr. Wilson that he would not take action against Sedelak, which forced Mr. Wilson to leave what had become an intolerable work environment. And only one day after reporting Sedelak's latest remarks, Gardner Denver fired Mr. Reyes-who recently had a strong performance evaluation-for supposedly "stirring the pot."

"It's 2015 and we live in Cleveland. The casual use of the n-word-a deeply offensive racial epithet-at Gardner Denver's suburban Cleveland operation, and management's apparent indifference, violated Mr. Reyes's and Mr. Wilson's right to workplace free of racial harassment and discrimination," said Subodh Chandra, Mr. Reyes's and Mr. Wilson's lead counsel. "Instead of riding Mr. Reyes and Wilson out of the workplace, Gardner Denver should have protected them."

The suit, captioned Wilson, et al. v. Gardner Denver Nash LLC, et al., was filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Subodh Chandra, Sandhya Gupta, and Patrick Haney are counsel for the plaintiffs.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Our work featured on

  • DEADSPIN
  • ABC News
  • CBS News
  • CNN
  • NBC News
  • MSNBC
  • NPR
  • Huffington Post
  • New York Times
  • Washington Post
  • Wall Street Journal
  • USA TODAY
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES
  • Chicago Tribune
  • San Francisco Chronicle
  • AP
  • Slate
  • TPM
  • Daily Kos
  • guardian news
  • Business Insider
  • The Colombus Dispatch
  • The Enquire | Cincinnati.com
  • Akron Beacon Journal | ohio.com

Contact The Chandra Law Firm LLC To Learn More

Making the right choice in legal representation can make the difference in whether you achieve a result that protects your legal rights and best interests. To schedule a consultation with litigators who will go the extra mile for you, fill out our online contact form or call our office in Cleveland at:

216-578-1700

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LEGAL ISSUE

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

The Chandra Law Firm LLC
1265 West 6th Street
Suite 400
Cleveland, OH 44113

Phone: 216-578-1700
Fax: 216-578-1800
Map & Directions

Super Lawyers