Photo Credit: Paolo Gamba
The suit was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Kerron Polk, a Black man from Yeadon, Pennsylvania who says he was called a “nigger” and told to “sit in the back of the [company] van” by coworkers.
According to the complaint, when Polk complained to the owner of the company, he told him to shut up, called him a nobody and fired him.
Kerron Polk began working at Winner Airport Valet Parking in Philadelphia in 2013 as a driver, and shortly after starting, he says he heard multiple co-workers repeatedly using the work “nigger” in reference to Black customers and co-workers. According to to the complaint, he took his concerns to a supervisor.
Shortly thereafter, one of the offenders was let go, but Polk says he is not sure it was due to his complaint, as he believes the other employees were not disciplined. Shortly afterwards, one of the offenders turned his racial hostility towards Polk, telling him to sit in the back of the company van and threatening to get him fired, the complaint alleges.
The hostility continued, and Polk continued to complain to supervisors, but nothing was done, and the treatment worsened. According to the complaint, Polk was no longer being put on the work schedule starting in March of 2014.
Polk called the owner of the company, Peter Carrea, in order to express his frustration. Carrea told him hat he respected the offender more then Polk, berated Polk and then fired him, according to the complaint.
Polk now sues Winner Airport Valet Parking and Carrea on four counts, alleging two violations each of the Civil Rights act and Pennsylvania’s human relations act. The suit was filed on his behalf by attorney Joseph F. Schwartz of the law firm Silver & Silver.
Carrea did not return a call requesting comment.
“[Polk] has suffered great humiliation, embarrassment, severe mental anguish, anxiety, depression, severe emotional and psychological distress, discomfort, injury, pain, and suffering,” the complaint states. “[He] has been damaged in entering into further employment relationships, has suffered a loss of earnings and employment benefits and a severely diminished earning capacity, and many continue to suffer such losses in the future,” it continues.
Polk seeks front and back pay in lieu of reinstatement.