Warehouse workers record supervisor making racial slurs - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Warehouse workers record supervisor making racial slurs

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Antonio Harris (right) thought no would believe the kind of racial slurs that his supervisor at Atkinson Cotton Warehouse was making, so he decided he would start recording him on his cell phone. Antonio Harris (right) thought no would believe the kind of racial slurs that his supervisor at Atkinson Cotton Warehouse was making, so he decided he would start recording him on his cell phone.
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Antonio Harris thought no would believe the kind of racial slurs that his supervisor at Atkinson Cotton Warehouse was making, so he decided he would start recording him on his cell phone.

He and his co-worker, Mario Mangrum, were let go after both men filed racial discrimination complaints. They have not hired attorneys and say they just want change and a chance to work in a fair environment.

"He didn't use the N-word, but he used the word 'monkey' a lot," said Mangrum. "When you see the white tape on it, that's a white man's lift."

Harris described the moment he decided he would start recording that supervisor on his cell phone.

"I'm at the time clock," he said. "He kicked me in my rear end. I knew that was the time to go because when you put your feet on me, I'm fixing to react, but I thought I would be in jail and I can't feed my family."

On one recording, Harris says he was attempting to drink from the water fountain when the supervisor stopped him.

[Beginning of audio recording]

Supervisor: Hey.

Antonio: What?

Supervisor: I need to put a sign here that says "Whites Only."

Antonio: Put up your sign on the wall then, because I'm fixing to drink it (drinks water). What do they do when they catch me drinking your water?

Supervisor: That's when we hang you.

[End of audio recording]

Harris said, "this really disturbed me. It disturbed me mentally."

In another recording, Harris says he was told he couldn't use the "whites only" microwave.

[Beginning of audio recording]

Antonio: Let me use the microwave.

Supervisor: No, hell no.

Antonio: Why can't I use the microwave, man?

Supervisor: Because you are not white.

[End of audio recording]

"What I want to see is better days for people," said Harris, who, like Mangrum, is the head of his household.

Federal Compress, the warehouse's subcontractor that supervised the fork lift workers, responded to the incident via the following statement:

Federal Compress maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy which prohibits any form of racially or other discriminatory conduct or language in the workplace and provides a process for reporting such violations to Human Resources for investigation. When Federal Compress was first made aware of these allegations concerning an employee working in another company's workplace, it conducted a thorough and extensive investigation. The person was immediately removed from that workplace, and is in fact no longer employed by Federal Compress. Federal Compress very much regrets that the allegations were not reported to it when the first incident is claimed to have occurred.

Federal Compress remains committed to treating all employees, customers, and members of the public with respect and dignity.

Robert B. Cohen
Chief Executive Officer

The owner of the building at the time of the incident, E. W. Atkinson, did respond.

"It's mortifying to me, the lack of compassion," said E.W. Atkinson, who owned the warehouse at the time of the incidents.

Atkinson said the company has been sold since the incident, and the supervisor is not working with the new company.

"It's an embarrassment this happened on my property," Atkinson said.

Meanwhile, Harris and Mangrum are awaiting answers to their EEOC complaints.

"I want a change to come out of this because I feel so hurt inside," Harris said. "I don't feel no love no where."

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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