A Black man has spoken out after he faced months of racist harassment from his co-workers at a California solar energy company. The racism was so malicious that Teshawn Solomon, 36, was taunted by employees who even created “whites-only” forts.
Solomon detailed the racist abuse during his time as a warehouse specialist at Vivint Solar in Sacramento last year to The Washington Post. An unnamed supervisor once referred to him by a racial slur, he recalled. Another unidentified supervisor also dangled a banana in front of him before reportedly saying that “Monkeys like bananas,” he said.
Aside from management, Solomon encountered hatred from his co-workers who spraypainted “whites-only” on makeshift cardboard box forts placed around their desks for two weeks, the Mercury News reported. The racism was overwhelmingly terrible, the man said.
“I was terrified,” he said. “The only other African American employee was usually at other warehouses, so I was alone, at night, looking over my shoulder, wondering what else could happen to me.”
Solomon was so beaten down by the harassment that he went to Vivint Solar’s management company for help. However, his specific complaints went unaddressed, forcing him to leave the position in March.
“All I wanted was respect and the dignity of providing for my family,” Solomon said, adding that not one thing was done to stop the racist harassment. “They didn’t hold anyone accountable. People continued joking about the fort for weeks because they knew management didn’t care about racism.”
The nonchalant attitude of Vivint Solar’s management company sent a negative message — one that several Black workers have commonly cited in their fights against workplace racism in recent years. In Solomon’s case, the company didn’t acknowledge the situation until after the man resigned from his position. The real question is whether Vivint recognized their wrongs and will begin to do something to stop racial discrimination at its company.