Chrysler Worker Discriminated Against; Wins Millions in Court

By: Meghan Dwyer Email
By: Meghan Dwyer Email

BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- "This stuff still goes on and that's why I wanted my day in court," says Otto May, a pipe-fitter at the Belvidere Assembly Plant since 1998.

“I've never imagined in my life that this could still happen but I was mistaken, it still happens."

Court documents show May was the target of "racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and anti-Semitic graffiti" between 2002 and 2005.

“I'd had over 19 flat tires on my car. We found that sugar had been poured in two of my tanks."

Then a dead bird was found dressed up like a KKK member, in a hood made of tissue paper. Eventually things escalated to death
threats against May and his family.

"It just kept getting worse. Hail Hitlers. I mean you name it,” May remembers.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found Chrysler did nothing to stop the harassment and they awarded May more than $4 million dollars.

The Court held that Chrysler refused to put up security cameras and only pretended to interview the culprits, even accusing May of harassing himself.

The court wrote, "Its response was shockingly thin as measured against the gravity of May's harassment."

In an emailed statement Chrysler says it "works hard to maintain a safe and supportive work environment for all employees, and does not tolerate harassment or discrimination. We are disappointed in this decision and considering our legal options."

May is still waiting on his final settlement, but even after all that's happened, he's back at the plant.

"I'm not going to let a few bigots drive me out of a place where I can make a good living.”


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