The NAACP has filed a discrimination lawsuit against US Airways, claiming it assigns African American employees to less desirable gates and shifts, and gives work areas dominated by black employees racially loaded nicknames such as “Compton,” “Camden,” and “The Ghetto.”
Shifts and areas with more white workers are called “Frankford,” “South Philly,” and “King of Prussia,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed late yesterday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Former airline employee Tiffany Salters, a customer-service manager, said she was told that she had to quit her position as secretary of the Camden County branch of the NAACP or lose her job at US Airways. She felt she was “harassed” by managers because of her work with the NAACP, she said, and ultimately was fired in 2007 for a security lapse she said was not her responsibility.
Managers, Salters said, would refer to individual African American employees as being “ghetto” or “hood.” She said she was praised for her ability to get along with all sorts of customers. A manager told her she had the “complexion for the connection.”
Brian Mildenberg, a lawyer representing the NAACP and the employees, said it was “against the law to have a hostile working environment for a particular minority.”
The suit seeks damages for all African American employees, reinstatement of the employees in the suit, an immediate ban on “racial code words,” and the appointment of a civil-rights monitor over US Airways’ Philadelphia operations.