Paris factory employees file federal racial discrimination, harassment complaint

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Work days are long and difficult for Dontrail Mathis because he says since December 2006; he has seen swastikas, racial slurs, and a noose hanging out in the open at the Turner Industries plant in Paris.

He and his attorney along with Karl Mitchell, another turner employee, are filing a complaint with the federal government and the equal employment opportunity commission to put a stop to racial discrimination.

"So we can come to work and work in a good safe environment so that we wont have any harassment," said Mathis.

In a statement, Turner Industries representative John Fenner says “we have a zero tolerance policy for any behavior that disparages any employee. We remain steadfast in creating and maintain a professional atmosphere that reinforces the company’s commitment to equality fairness and tolerance”

Mathis' attorney James Vagnini says because of the apparent unfair treatment and offensive racial comments against African American employees, the plant is being run like a modern day plantation.
"It’s ruling by fear and intimidation and it will not be taken anymore," said Vagnini.

Fenner says to help ease racial tensions the company is conducting an internal investigation and offering equal employment opportunity training to all managers and supervisors on site.

Mathis and Mitchell are both still employed with Turner Industries but they say their jobs have been threatened by supervisors.

Vagnini says he hopes the company does more to protect his client and to mend the racial divide.

" they can take the lead and be at the forefront of change or they can be on the receiving end of what I believe is going to be a nightmare for them; its a real scary event and I hope and pray for the best to come out of this" said Vagnini
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