ROMULUS, Mich. (WXYZ) — A noose is one of many things Jermaine Ware says he was threatened with when he started working at a Romulus trailer manufacturer in 2018.
"It just made me feel belittled," Ware said. "It made me feel small, made me feel insignificant, made me feel like I had really had no other options being the way my life was set up at the time.”
Ware and two others are named in a lawsuit against the company Benlee, alleging racial discrimination. They claim they were constantly subjected to racist jokes, threatened with violence, and even had coworkers play slave songs on the speakers as they worked.
“It weighs a lot on you," Ware said. "It put me in a depressive state. It made me someone totally different that I'm still trying to fix today.”
Now their attorney is bringing forward new evidence that he says proves their point. He says one of the employees at the center of the allegations posted numerous pictures on social media in 2009 of him wearing blackface at a Halloween party.
"He’s putting these types of photos on social media for the world to see including coworkers, including the African American employees," said attorney Jon Marko. "It’s disgusting.”
“That just goes to further prove my point," Ware said of the photos. "I'm not mistaking these acts as something that I'm blowing out of proportion.”
An attorney representing Benlee said in a statement that, “The company denies that any of the plaintiffs were ever subjected to unlawful racial harassment or discrimination, that any of the plaintiffs ever complained about such harassment or discrimination, or that any plaintiff was constructively discharged or wrongfully terminated. Plaintiffs, whose own individual stories do not match up, are pointing to events that happened long before they were employed, about which nobody ever complained, to paint a false picture of the Benlee workplace during their employment.”