Rotten Smell: Shellfish Producer Let Black Employee Be Harassed, EEOC Alleges in Suit

The workplace at the largest producer of shellfish in the United States was anything but hospitable to a black worker, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

According to the EEOC, Jeremy Daniels, hired as a maintenance technician at Taylor Shellfish Company’s Samish Bay Farm in Washington State, faced demeaning comments and stereotypes about his race and was regularly called variations of the “N word” as well as “spook” and “boy.”

The lawsuit under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act also charges that his supervisor retaliated against Daniels by assigning him less desirable jobs, publicly screaming profanities at him and writing him up for insubordination. Despite being notified of incidents, Taylor management failed to take any action and simply told Daniels to just get thicker skin and “put his head down and do what he was told,” so that he felt he had no choice but to quit in order to escape the harassment.

“My supervisor ‘welcomed’ me to the job with the information that I was the first black person to work at Taylor for a long time, and that his father used to run ‘my kind’ out of town,” Daniels said. “In the military, when I traveled around the world for my country, I never encountered anyone who made me feel that I was less than them simply because of the color of my skin. But when I went to work for Taylor, I was constantly robbed of my dignity for simply being black.”

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