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GM CEO visits the Toledo facility where alleged racism occurred



"Meetings with employees covered regular business aspects, as well as workplace behavior and cultural issues," said David Caldwell, GM's business relationship manager. "This included confirming the company's strong commitment to a safe, open and inclusive workplace, with zero tolerance for intimidating or intolerant behavior."

"It was an opportunity to communicate that all reports of events are taken seriously and fully investigated," Caldwell said. "The leaders also shared their belief in the workforce – that the bad measures of one or the other do not represent the whole team or the surrounding community."

Nursery Guides Marcus Boyd and Derrick Brooks, who worked differently on Derrick Brooks, say he met a racially hostile environment at GM and sued the firm. "data-src-mini =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/1

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Boyd said threats and fears were a common part of working life there.

Brooks said he found a nose that hung in the area where he worked. As the only black co-worker in that room at the shift, he thought it was meant to scare him.

In total, five noose were found and reported to GM, according to the lawsuit.

Boyd quit his job at GM after he claimed that life was threatened while working there. He said guards had to see him coming in and out of the facility for his own protection. Boyd told CNN Monday night that he was happy that Barra did the tour, but said it should have happened before the situation went so far.

"I recommend GM leadership to come to Toledo Powertrain today. The workers deserve it is: Why did it go so far? Why did it take more incidents over the years before it was addressed?" Said Boyd. "Why did I have to leave my career because of the rapid hostility of the workplace? Why was it not taken seriously as these events were reported repeatedly? Diversity and inclusiveness should be more than a general statement."

Attorney Michelle Vocht, a lawyer for more than half a dozen clients who sues GM over racial discrimination and harassment, recognized the step GM took with the plant visit.

"It's time that the GM peak began to recognize it's a problem. CEO Mary Barra's appearance is a start. But GM must do much more than that," Vocht said.

Vocht said that she believes that GM should have done more in the first place.

"What happened was greater than just a meeting and a press release and repeatedly about zero tolerance. They apparently had zero tolerance policies when noose was hanged; they had zero tolerance when African-Americans suffered in the workplace when the N-word was written in the bathroom. stalls and walls. Zero tolerance should mean what is stated. NULL tolerance, "Vocht said.

Litigation, filed by several current and former GM employees, detailed allegations of a workplace where people declared baths were for "just white", where black tutors were condemned as "boy" and ignored by their subordinates and where black employees was called "monkey" or told to "go back to Africa". Litigation claimed that black employees were warned that a white colleague's "dad" was in the Ku Klux Klan, and it said that white workers were wearing shirts that had Nazi symbols under their overalls.

  Marcus Boyd says he experienced a racially hostile environment at GM and is suing the company.

The case says the company allowed an "underlying atmosphere of violent racial hatred and bullying."

GM declined to be interviewed for CNN's original story but gave a statement rejecting case characterization of the plant's atmosphere.

After the story has been drawn on social media, with many comments criticizing GM, the company terminated another sentence.

"We are upset that someone will be subjected to racist behavior. We have zero tolerance for discrimination – this is not who we are. We are working to drive this out of our jobs," GM's main Twitter account wrote to more people on the social media platform.

  Darlene Sweeney-Newbern, from the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, says the case against GM was among the worst they have seen.

Other Toledo plant workers filed complaints with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. The Commission, which enforces state laws against discrimination, announced the results of a nine-month survey in March last year: GM made it possible for a racially hostile environment. GM appealed the decision, but it was maintained.

Darlene Sweeney-Newbern, the Commission's regional operations director, told CNN racist behavior was so prevalent at Toledo Powertrain, the GM plant, that she would rank it among the worst cases her team has seen. She recalled that during a meeting to cope with noose placement, a white supervisor said it was "too big a deal".

Sweeney-Newbern said in a statement by Barra's tour of the facility that the commission found it "more likely than not that General Motors management failed to act with sufficient speed and seriousness when reprehensible discrimination actions took place in their Toledo facility."

"We hope that this increased emphasis on discrimination by GM's CEO will result in a more serious and deliberate effort to stop discrimination in the future," she says.

  GM responds to setbacks after racism claims:

General Motors also offers a $ 25,000 reward for information on the alleged noose and whites-only signs on the facility and has said the company has continued to investigate the allegations. [19659002] In a letter to GM's vice president of production and working in North America, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said he was happy to know that action was being taken to deal with the allegations, which included an investigation of the situation, human resource retraining and employees on appropriate responses to discrimination claims and a semi-annual workplace culture survey with a follow-up action plan to respond on the results.

He also said that GM is investigating the workforce to drill down the attitude and feelings of employees to determine whether culture can be improved. The company is investing time and resources to improve culture; and will use the city's diversity integration director to help with the survey.

CNN's Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.


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