A lawsuit that alleges a culture of racism in Boston’s Water and Sewer Commission adds credence to Boston’s reputation as the most racist city in America.
Two former employees filed the race and gender discrimination suit on Thursday, in which they give details about incidents that were routine in an environment that condoned racism and sexism for years, NBC10 reported.
That’s not surprising, given the city’s reputation. Boston, a bastion of liberalism on the political landscape, has recently had to do some soul searching about race. A Boston Globe series in 2017 examined whether the reputation is deserved, and all signs pointed to yes.
Barbara Gillis, who’s white, alleged that she was told on her first day on the job in 2013 not to sit with Black co-workers or socialize with them.
“She went to take a seat on a bench and somebody said, ‘You don’t cross the Mason-Dixon Line,'” her attorney, Nick Carter, said.
“It’s not a one-off. This is not just one bad character, this is a culture there that has persisted for years, if not decades,” her lawyer continued.
Complaining to managers made things worse. One supervisor said, “Don’t say the N-word around the girl, she’s going to cry about it,” Gillis, who was a heavy-equipment operator at the commission, detailed.
The co-plaintiff, who’s Black, recalled an incident in which a co-worker used a black marker to color a mirror on his desk and the wrote the messages “can you see me now,” “yo yo yo,” and “Run DMC.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh released a weak response to the explosive allegations, which did not include a pledge to investigate the department.
“It goes without saying that the language and actions alleged here should not be tolerated in any workplace and we hope that this is resolved as quickly as possible,” said Walsh, according to WHDH-TV.