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2006-04-09
Mt. Laurel, NJ. Home Depot Hit With Another Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Walter Robinson, of Willingboro, New Jersey, a Home Depot employee and shareholder, has sued Home Depot in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey for Discrimination, Intentional Infliction of Mental Distress, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Harassment and Violation of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. According to his racial discrimination lawsuit, "Despite glowing and extraordinary achievements that would have won him accolades at any other organization on the earth, he has been persecuted. His success has been tempered time after time by the enforcement of this glass ceiling that prevents minorities from ascending to management. He comes to work in a hostile environment that has become even more hostile since he wrote to the President Robert Nardelli about his lack of respect and discrimination. Retaliation is a primary management tool in his case." Robinson was hired at Home Depot in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey in October 1997 to work in the millwork department although he received hardly any training. In 1998 Walter was approached by another African American employee who was extremely nervous. He took Walter to the Receiving Department where there was a hangman's noose hanging over the forklift. The Caucasian men who were there scattered when Walter and the other man approached. The experience shook Walter's fellow employee so badly he left the company. It sent a chilling message to Walter as well since he grew up in Virginia. It is not difficult to find someone who has been lynched in the south. This event at the Mt. Laurel store was Walter's first experience with ethnic intimidation and the blatant racism tolerated and engendered at Home Depot. The lawsuit goes on to say that "Walter recognized the glass ceiling that is a part of the Home Depot culture. He was thwarted whenever it looked like he was a candidate for promotion into management. His success was sabotaged at every turn... Walter had demonstrated leadership skills and performance achievements in every area he was assigned to." In 2003, Management accused Walter in 2003 of stealing. An investigation was launched and nothing came of it. He was also accused of conspiring with a contractor to steal from the store." The case concludes, "Walter is an extraordinary employee at Home Depot. He should be on a poster. He should be exalted. He is now a sales associate in appliances... In October 2005 at his performance review. Walter was demeaned in front of a room full of managers about him being a problem in the store. His Assistant Manager told Walter he could take the review home to his wife to read... It was demeaning and racist because the room was filled with Caucasians and no one offered to mediate or ameliorate the situation. It was extremely tense and threatening and Walter simply walked out without the review. It was a terroristic confrontation. Walter was being provoked into a physical confrontation... It was a situation that shook Walter to his core as it would any human being."

What you can do: This lawsuit has a summary of racial discrimination lawsuits filed against Home Depot over the years. For a copy of the 34 page complaint, email: info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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