A former project manager of a Pleasanton, California construction company filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the owners, alleging racial discrimination and harassment after they impersonated President Donald Trump and displayed Confederate flags around the office, The East Bay Times reports.
Tishay Wright, the African-American woman who filed the suit, claims the CEO of Southland Construction Management, Kenneth Hayden, and his wife, Anita Hayden, its CFO, created a racially hostile work environment. The couple routinely made racist comments, such as, “We’ll just make the Mexicans do it,” according to the lawsuit.
They allegedly gave Wright a purse with a Confederate flag design as a Christmas gift, along with photographs of them dressed as Trump.
Wright’s lawyer, Chris Dolan, said his client felt shock and nausea when she opened the gift. It was a hostile message, he said, that caused her anxiety.
As further evidence, The Times said the lawsuit lists several other malicious acts the owners committed against Wright after giving her the purse, including removing her from major projects.
NBC News Bay Area said the lawsuit also accuses Kenneth Hayden of assault and battery. In one incident, he allegedly threw a mobile phone at Wright that bounced off her desk and struck her in the arm.
“No one should be treated this way in America in the year 2017. This country is going backwards and it has to stop,” Wright said in a statement, according to The Times.
Dolan said the impersonation, as well as the racist and sexist language, shows the negative influence of Trump’s presidency, The Times said.
“The message couldn’t be any clearer: ‘I stand with Trump and I’m racist. If you don’t like it, then get out of my business and out of my country,” he added.
Wright worked for the company from June 22, 2015, until March 9 of this year. She seeks unspecified general and punitive damages.
The Times was unable to reach Hayden for a comment.
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