Thursday, July 1, 2010
Local Turkey Files Lawsuit Against Employer Over Racial Slur
A Turkey from Marysville has sued Wal-Mart in federal court, alleging that a coworker at the store where he worked referred to him as a “dumb turkey” and made racial remarks about his species’ supposed inability to fly.
Jack, a 3-year-old Domestic Turkey, filed the complaint this morning in U.S. District Court.
Jack said he was restocking shelves at the Marysville store where he worked part time and was laughing at a joke a fellow employee told him when a cat turned to him and said “shut up, you dumb turkey.”
Maggie was sent home after calling her coworker a “dumb turkey”
The cat, a 5-year-old spayed Tortoise Shell named Maggie, was spanked and sent home from work after the comment was made. Maggie had worked at Wal-Mart for almost a year without incident.
For Wal-Mart, which has built a fragile trust among minority communities, this comes only months after an incident at a New Jersey Wal-Mart store where a Pygmy Goat came over the PA system and announced “Attention, Wal-Mart customers; all turkeys must leave the building.”
Even with the Civil Rights Movement behind us many Turkeys still face racial discrimination and have long been living with the stigma of being called “dumb.”
The Wal-Mart store in Marysville, where the incident took place
Turkeys in the past have been unfairly portrayed as poor, lazy, very religious, as criminals, and often times as being fans of drinking orange pop and eating waffles.
Court documents say the employee’s comment made Jack feel uncomfortable and depressed. “Not all turkeys are dumb,” he said in a statement. “That is an unfair stereotype.”
He said Maggie had also called him “lazy” in the past and made fun of his inability to fly due to his weight. “I could fly when I was younger,” said Jack. “I have eating issues, that is my business. That (turkeys) can‘t fly is a misconception.”
This turkey alleges he applied for a promotion to management only to be told to “get stuffed” by a manager
Jack is seeking a jury trial with compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and an injunction ordering Wal-Mart to require affirmative training and take other steps to ensure other Turkeys are not discriminated against in the same way he was.
Fellow turkeys say they have seen their fair share of discrimination in the past, but say they fear taking action would cause them to lose their jobs.
The EEO sued the company in May 2009, claiming some Vampire Bat employees were subjected to a hostile work environment. That suit alleged managers failed to stop repeated verbal harassment, including the use of the term “bat-shit crazy” against employees of Chiropterian descent.
Sharyn Thoma-Guay reporter-at-large
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