Racial harassment has gone unchecked for years at a U.S. Post Office garage in Charlotte, according to two African-American workers who said federal officials have failed to protect them in the workplace.
Rodney Carelock and Joshua Webb asked a Gaston County, North Carolina judge in May to issue no-contact orders against three white co-workers who harassed them at the post office’s vehicle repair facility, the Charlotte Observer reported Friday after viewing legal documents.
However, the pair dropped their petition in July after a U.S. attorney, who’s defending the post office, moved the case to the federal courts. Carelock and Webb couldn’t afford the estimated $20,000 fee to fight their case at the federal level.
The newspaper confirmed the accounts of racial mistreatment with five white current or former colleagues of Carelock and Webb.
“They’re still fighting the Civil War down here. They didn’t like Rodney because he’s Black. They didn’t like Josh because he’s Black. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that it’s racism,” said Brendan Harris, who left the facility in 2016 over intolerable working conditions.
Incidents included Carelock finding sticky notes with the N-word on his computer keyboard, a doctored newspaper photograph of President Barack Obama with a bull’s eye drawn on his forehead on Carelock’s toolbox, and a monkey doll with a noose around its neck at another Black employee’s workstation.
Complaints lodged through the post office’s internal system resulted in a slap on the wrist to one of the men accused of racial intimidation against Carelock. In various court filings, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Sullivan described several of Webb and Carelock’s legal complaints as frivolous.
Yet, the post office’s website claims it has a workplace environment that has “diversity and inclusion are a part of the fabric of the organization,” the newspaper noted.
Carelock and Webb said they already spent thousands in legal fees and don’t know where the money would come from to continue their legal battle. In August, the postal service ordered the men to take down their GoFundMe campaign page and return the more than $800 in donations they received to help with their legal costs.
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