Local News

Wilson woman sues Bridgestone plant, alleging bosses conspired to prevent promotion

Posted February 20, 2019 7:27 p.m. EST

— A Wilson woman is suing the Bridgestone manufacturing facility after she said her supervisors conspired to prevent her from moving up in the company because of her race.

In a lawsuit filed Feb. 14, Laverne McIver, who is African-American, claims that she was racially discriminated against by a supervisor, several managers and co-workers, all of whom are white. The lawsuit also names several human resources employees, one of whom is black.

McIver alleges that she was subjected to a hostile work environment and “was discriminated against because of her race and in retaliation for her EEOC complaint.” She also claims she was passed over several times without reason for a promotion and was not given the opportunity to interview for the role.

According to the documents, McIver filed four complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2009 and 2018.

The lawsuit states that McIver’s supervisor gave her a negative performance review in 2016 saying she needed to “work on working well with others.” The review came two days before the company posted a job opening she had expressed interest in applying for. The job would have been a promotion for McIver.

After questioning the comment made during her review, McIver said she was told to apologize to “the boys” for a complaint made to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2009. At that time, she was informed by the plant manager that she would not be able to transfer to a different role or get a promotion within the company, the lawsuit states.

In July 2017, McIver scheduled a meeting to discuss her 2016 performance review, as well as her 2017 review, which stated that she “needed to work on teamwork and her ability to work well with others.” In the meeting, McIver learned a co-worker had made several complaints about her work that she believed were unfounded.

During a 2018 meeting with supervisors, McIver said she was told she “constantly accused” one of her co-workers of sabotage. At the end of that meeting, she was suspended with pay after her supervisor said he was uncomfortable with her returning to the floor.

One day later, McIver said she received a text saying her work locker was being cleaned out. She was eventually told that she would have to move to a different role within the company or tender her resignation.

The lawsuit alleges that the new role “limited her earning capacity” because her ability to perform in the new position is limited by her carpal tunnel syndrome.

McIver believes her co-workers and managers “created false accusations” against her in order to prevent her from being promoted and that supervisors and managers retaliated against her because of her complaints to human resources and the EEOC.

The lawsuit also alleges that racially-motivated incidents had been occurring at the plant since 2006, when an employee hung a noose on machines belonging to two black employees but was not disciplined by human resources.

According to the lawsuit, McIver is seeking $500,000 in damages in the case.

WRAL News has reached out to Bridgestone for comment on the lawsuit, but has not received a response.