Local News

Man says he was fired from UPS after complaining about racial remark

Posted December 12, 2014

— A UPS employee in Raleigh says he was fired in retaliation after admonishing his supervisor for making a racially insensitive remark.

Joshua Boyd, 22, said Friday that he had worked only three weeks at the UPS Customer Center, loading boxes onto trucks, when the encounter with his boss happened Tuesday.

As the two worked side by side, Boyd eyed the supervisor’s chocolate bar.

“I said, ‘Hey man!’” Boyd recalled. “I look at him, and he looks back at me and says, ‘Yeah, I’ll bring you down like they did that guy in New York.’”

Boyd said he didn’t appreciate the reference to Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a white police officer in Staten Island, N.Y. A grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer resulted in nationwide protests, including in the Triangle.

“I quickly addressed it, so I said, ‘Hey man, that’s not funny. Can you not joke on that particular matter,” said Boyd, who is black.

He said the supervisor, who is white, immediately apologized. But Boyd said the supervisor laughed about the chokehold joke two more times to other employees.

Boyd said he felt like he was in a hostile work environment, so he went home.

He returned the next day and had a meeting with his supervisor’s boss. He said he was told to return Thursday and meet with Human Resources personnel, who fired him.

Boyd said he did not overreact to the remark.

“If I ask you not to say it one time, firmly – I didn’t joke back and smile and say, ‘Hey man, don’t say that again.’ I looked at you straight and asked you not to say that again,” he said.

He said UPS cut him loose “to protect their employees.”

A spokesman for the company released the following statement about the allegations:

“We take all claims of this nature seriously and will investigate this claim and take appropriate action based on the outcome. We have a workplace violence prevention policy, and UPS is committed to a safe working environment, free of threats, intimidation and physical harm. All employees have a right to work in a safe environment and share a responsibility for each other’s safety. UPS has adopted a policy of zero tolerance for violence or harassment in the workplace.”

Boyd said he plans to take his complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • vfore10 Dec 15, 2014

    why is this in the news !! typical reason !! never their fault !

  • Alex Branoff Dec 15, 2014
    user avatar

    You can't walk off the job, buddy.

  • jackaroe123 Dec 12, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Do you joke about the deaths of coworkers' relatives?
    There's a line, isn't there?
    Do you get to draw one line for everyone, or do you respect others' lines, too?

  • Dec 12, 2014

    View quoted thread

    If they any more liberal they'll be MSNBC

  • 96073464 Dec 12, 2014

    Non story. WRAL just keeps pumping it out, don't they?

  • tednancy Dec 12, 2014

    Whiner. Rule #1 of work: you gotta be there. If you take off in the middle of your shift and leave everyone in a lurch during the busy season because your little feelings are hurt, you better man up and deal with the consequences.

  • Dec 12, 2014

    Never fear our fearless prez and Holder will be on the case soon

  • Martha Matthews Dec 12, 2014
    user avatar

    Let it go, let it go........

  • John Lobenstein Dec 12, 2014
    user avatar

    If, as the story/report implies, Boyd left before his scheduled time he basically walked off the job. In effect he quit. Is Boyd a Harvard law student that can not function if there is any hint of non-utopia or discomfort?

  • rachel Dec 12, 2014

    grow a set-everybody hears stuff at work-try being Polish, Irish, male, female, gay-whatever-if you can't take anything that doesn't make you feel warm and fuzzy perhaps you need to go live in a hut on a deserted island-it's about the only way you will never hear anything that might strike a cord. Hardly a hostile work environment nor a 15 minutes of fame news moment.