HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaiian Airlines employee filed a racial harassment and discrimination lawsuit, saying his life was threatened by colleagues who placed a noose and a lynching rope near his locker.
Timothy Degrate said he found the rope next to his locker in August 2016, Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday.
Degrate said he felt targeted for being a black man.
“What that means to me, murder, death, intimidation,” Degrate said. “It was just a hostile environment to work in.”
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Hawaiian Airlines denied the allegations of workplace violence and said an independent investigation was unable to verify actions described by Degrate.
“Having said that, because Hawaiian Airlines is committed to maintaining a fair and safe work environment we have taken additional efforts to improve workplace interaction at our Kona station, including mandatory staff-wide training on communicating and interacting with respect,” said Ann Botticelli, senior vice president of corporate communications at Hawaiian Airlines
Degrate said co-workers harassed him to the point where he suffered psychological trauma.
Degrate’s attorney Elizabeth Fujiwara said that anytime a lynch rope is put in front of a black person it’s considered a death threat.
The employee who uses that neighboring locker is a witness for Degrate.
Degrate has been with Hawaiian Airlines since 2000. He is a lead line service supervisor at Kona International Airport.
He is seeking damages and attorneys’ fees.
Information from: KGMB-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/