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African-American workers file racial harassment lawsuit against Memphis cotton gin

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A group of African-American workers filed a lawsuit against a Memphis cotton gin for racial harassment.

In the fedral lawsuit filed Monday, the three workers said they told management at Attkinson Cotton Warehouse, Planters Gin Company of Memphis and Federal Compress that their supervisor was making racial attacks, but nothing was done about it, and they were even fired.

One of the workers recorded a conversation with the supervisor and played it for WREG in June.

The supervisor is heard telling the employee that he couldn't use the water fountain.

"I need to put a sign here that says 'white people only,'" said the supervisor in the recording.

An attorney for one of the employees, Howard Manis, told WREG the longstanding harassment included "disparaging names, unwarranted physical contact, degrading comments from superiors, along with 'whites only' treatment of the workers."

The lawsuit states the companies "failed to adopt or sufficiently enforce anti-discrimination policies or procedures in their shared workplace."

WREG stopped by the supervisor's home, who is listed as Richard Hudson in the complaint, but no one answered the door.

The supervisor was fired after a federal complaint was filed and the recordings got national attention.

We also called the companies Monday, but no one picked up the phone.

In June, one of the owners of the companies, E.W. Atkinson, told WREG management is provided by another company, and he wasn't around enough to know about the alleged abuse.

"I just wasn't around. I am sorry I didn't know sooner," he said.

Federal Compress sent out a statement in June.

"Federal Compress maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy which prohibits any form if racially or other discriminatory conduct or language in the workplace and provides a process of reporting such violation to Human Resources for investigation. When Federal Compress was first made aware of see allegations concerning an employee working in another company's workplace, it conducted a thorough and extensive investigation. The person was immediately removed from that workplace, and is in fact no longer e,played by Federal Compress. Federal Compress very much regrets that the allegations were not reported to it when the incident is first claimed to have occurred."

The companies have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.


  • Proofreader please

    (workers filed a lawsuit against a Memphis cotton gin) Do you mean the owners? (In the fedral lawsuit) FEDERAL (prohibits any form if racially) OF racially (was first made aware of see allegations) THE allegations (no longer e,played by Federal Compress) EMPLOYED
    Does anyone proofread at WREG? This article is pathetic.

    • Skeptic

      You said it. Computers have made people illiterate. Spell check doesn’t help these reporters. Proofread? They probably couldn’t spell that correctly in a job description.

  • Calypso

    Cotton gin owner better get his checkbook ready . .
    . . . .he will be paying the strength on this one for ignorant savagery at his busines.

  • Ohnotheydidn't

    I’m sure Obama, Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson will have something to say about this. Get the news trucks ready folks….we got a red hot story for all the race baiters. Updates at 10 pm.

    • glad_you're_mad

      no need to get the trucks etc. ready … the only thing needing to get ready is that bigot check book … but if they had to come, they wouldn’t have a problem doing so … it just pisses you off don’t it? Get over it …

      • Jerome

        Jessie and Al are in Detroit because a drunk and high black women got shot on a white man’s porch at 4 am after knocking his screen door in. She was three times the legal alcohol limit in MI and beat on the man’s door…he panicked and shot her…..NOW they want to crucify the white man for murder. When he is found not guilty, it will be ” Justice for Trayvon” all over again. Write it down. .

  • Showmethemoney

    The bigot was fired but that will not be enough…..Show me the money….Show me the ghetto lottery money. I cait sleep. I cait eat. The horror….hmmm a fat check just might do the trick. AAhhhh Im feelin betta now.

  • Betty

    Imagine if a Councilwoman made racial remarks “you in the white sheet” .. I’m sure she be let go ..

  • Bobbyie Stokes

    “This is so old, and so tired, and so tiresome….. I will be so glad when people grow the h*ll UP and quit whining”
    Whose whining!!!! I get so sick and tire of people like you that I can’t stand it. If it was you and some old white fart treated you like dirt, What would you do? You’re so hung up on something being old until you can’t see the real picture of this yesteryear mentality of trash treating people. Get a life, if it that old.

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