NASHUA, N.H. (AP) – A man who was fired from his kitchen job at Sky Meadow Country Club has filed a lawsuit accusing supervisors of racial discrimination.

The lawsuit filed by John Selden, 25, of Nashua, was moved to U.S. District Court in Concord late last month. In the filing, Selden says his supervisors and other co-workers repeatedly addressed him using various racial epithets when he worked as a dishwasher, pantry cook, prep cook and night supervisor at the club from 1999 through 2004.

Selden, who is of mixed racial background, also claims supervisors berated him as “worthless,” “stupid,” “lazy” and “retarded,” punished him for seeking workers’ compensation for an injury and then fired him for complaining about it.

A lawyer representing Sky Meadow, Alfred Gray of Boston, said the club disputes Selden’s claims.

“We emphatically deny the allegations that Mr. Selden has raised,” Gray said. “We steadfastly maintain the Mr. Selden has not been discriminated against because of his race or any other reason. … I don’t think anybody in their right mind would tolerate that type of conduct.”

Gray declined to comment on specific allegations cited in the suit, including claims that supervisors and co-workers directed similar comments toward the one other black employee. Selden also says that when some of the club’s money was missing, only he and the other black kitchen worker were interrogated.

In 2004, Selden filed a workers’ compensation claim after suffering a shoulder injury at work, his suit states. Afterward, the suit states, the supervisor wrote up several complaints about Selden’s job performance, and his racial harassment “became more brutal,” the suit states.

Selden said he was transferred to another position that required him to use his injured shoulder even more, and his shifts were scheduled erratically.

Selden was fired in November 2004 after he was ordered to sign a written reprimand for having reported to work two hours early, the suit states.

His lawyer, Nancy Richards-Stower, said her client endured the abuse because he had a family to support, and the job paid well for kitchen work.

“Many workers suffer untold indignities at work in order to earn a living,” Richards-Stower said.

Pride also may have kept him there, she said.

“There’s always hope that by doing a good job and keeping one’s dignity that one can inspire and teach the perpetrators,” she said, forcing people to “put aside their prejudice . . . and just honor the human in front of them.”

In addition to seeking compensation for lost wages and emotional suffering, Selden’s suit seeks punitive damages and an order that the club set up an anti-discrimination program.



Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.nashuatelegraph.com

AP-ES-07-09-06 1146EDT


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