A group of 41 minority workers filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking $82 million from the Seattle-based aerospace giant for alleged racial discrimination in the workplace.
All employees "deserve to be treated with dignity and respect," said Jim Dagnon, the company's senior vice president for people.
The lawsuit accuses Boeing of failure to promote, a hostile work environment, retaliation, discriminatory hiring practices, disparate terms and conditions of employment, wrongful termination and sexual harassment.
The lawsuit seeks back pay, court expenses, general damages, damages for physical and emotional stress and medical expenses.
All of the plaintiffs are black, except for one, who is Filipino and Native American. All are current or former Boeing employees who live in King County.
Many of the workers said they were denied promotions granted others with equal or lesser qualifications, or that their promotions required them to transfer when others were not required to do so. Some alleged that work rules were different for them than for their white counterparts.
"What brought us together was that it was running rampant," said Everett Peterson, a roto-machine operator who was among several plaintiffs at a Tuesday morning news conference to announce the lawsuit. "We were seeing a lot of people being hired, and all of them were white."
Many of the plaintiffs complained to the company and their union, but in most cases no action was taken, the lawsuit said. Several say they suffered retaliationÂ—one five-day suspension and denial of promotion and work benefitsÂ—when they complained.
Boeing expressed regret that the workers felt compelled to sue and acknowledged that the company's internal system for handling complaints needs to be changed.
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed