A California man on Monday filed a lawsuit with a national solar business, Vivint Solar, for racial harassment and discrimination.
Teshawn Solomon alleged a manager with the company’s Sacramento-based location used racial slurs and built a clubhouse with his coworkers bearing a “White Only” sign in the office during his employment there.
Solomon began working as a temporary worker for the solar business in February 2017, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The 36-year-old man had been promoted into a full-time permanent position with the company when he said he experienced a string of racial harassment instances by supervisors.
Solomon’s attorney, Cory Bennett, told the publication that the company created a “racially hostile work environment” where he was “consistently singled out for discrimination and harassment by his predominately Caucasian co-workers and supervisors.”
Bennett said the black employee had been called a variation of the “n-word” so much by his manager, who was non-black, that it was like “part of his everyday vocabulary.”
Solomon had told his manager not to use the racial slur but said the manager “tried to explain that he grew up with black people” to defend his use of the word, Bennett told the outlet.
Solomon said the same manager said “monkeys like bananas” and handed him one, according to the suit obtained by the California news outlet.
The suit claimed the harassment escalated earlier this year when Solomon arrived to work to find that the same manager built a clubhouse out of cardboard boxes with other employees in the department and spray painted “White only” on the fortress near his desk.
“It’s like a white pride playhouse or something,” Bennett told the publication.
Vivint Solar released the following statement, obtained by ABC10 after the complaint was issued:
“We typically have a policy of not commenting on specific personnel matters or pending litigation. However, in this case, we wish to extend a sincere apology to Mr. Solomon for the deeply concerning and understandably upsetting situation he endured. Mr. Solomon’s experience was an isolated one and it has been addressed by our HR team to ensure something like this never happens again. Mr. Solomon’s experience simply does not reflect the values or culture of Vivint Solar and stands in direct contradiction to our core values as a company.”