NYC Construction Workers Sue over Safety Poster Connoting Lynching

Eleven workers working at a site in midtown Manhattan are suing the construction company known as Tishman for racial discrimination and hostile work environment after a poster was found on the company’s safety office bulletin board implying a lynching.

The workers, all people of color, claim that the poster was “a picture of a man of color doing construction on a ladder with a noose around his neck, with the horrifically ironic caption, ‘Always Remember – Safety at Work,’” the complaint states.

Poster up Close
The poster in question.

New employee orientation includes a tour of the safety office, according to the complaint. 

The workers claim that all of Tishman’s management, including the two people who work in the safety office, were Caucasian. They claim that the “image of lynching in the safety office sends the message that the Caucasian powers really do not care about the black workers’ safety,” the complaint states.

One of the workers, Felicia Allen, after seeing the poster in plain view, reported it to human resources, but nothing was done. Allen then reported it to the company’s headquarters and it was taken down two days later.

The workers contend that the poster remained in the safety office for quite a while and a number of new employees were exposed to it. The fact that no one took it down earlier “constitutes certainly a severe and perhaps even a pervasive form of racial harassment in the workplace,” the complaint states.

Having also suffered a hostile work environment, plaintiffs demand punitive as well as compensatory damages.

The workers are represented by Gregory Antollino of New York City who filed the case in the Southern District of New York.

Image Source: Complaint