LOUISVILLE, Ky (RIOT) - Three ex-employees spoke out with Rev. Timothy Findley, Jr. of the Justice & Freedom Coalition to address racial discrimination at Louisville Water Company. Shortly following this press conference Louisville Water Company released their own statement to the #502LIVEstreamers.
"This morning we gather to bring attention to and address what seems to be a a troubling and problematic workplace environment, filled with allegations of workplace racism, sexism, and dereliction of duties in fostering a culture of equity and accountability within the Louisville Water Company." Rev. Timothy Findley Jr. stated, "Today is a call for change. Today we stand together united by a shared commitment to justice equity and a work place free of racism, sexism, and discrimination."
Findley went on to reference a number of anonymous employees and their testimonies as well as a number of pending litigations against LWC that are public record. He also offered on opportunity for three ex-employees of the company to share their story.
Chauncy Harlan Jr. claims to have been terminated after an accident involving a company vehicle. He further states he had a clean record otherwise and that he feels other employees were handled differently under similar circumstances.
"I noticed when I looked at my accident and my discipline that the way I was treated and the way that other employees were treated that didn't look at me were inconsistent." Chauncey Harlan Jr. continued, "I noticed that black and African American employees have harsher punishments than white employees. So I come here today and I want to say that we are tired of optics. We're tired of appearances. We're tired of empty words and plans. We want change and we want it now."
Latriece King claims she was terminated following an incident involving a leave of absence from having surgery. She further claims that the HR demanded she return to work creating an embarrassing situation for her in front of male coworkers.
"I had a doctor's note that stated I could remain off for six more weeks due to the fact that I was unable to take care and properly groom myself." Latriece King explained her story, "HR ignored my note and forced me back to work. Come Monday morning I had to report to work without a bra on, while pregnant, amongst men. I was humiliated and embarrassed. He wanted to show me who was the boss and he did just that while causing me trauma."
Latriece went on to describe another situation following her having her baby and taking maternity leave, claiming that HR told her that she had, "healed enough."
Torian Murphy delivered a statement that was prepared by two employees who chose to anonymous. He did however state that one is a 17 year veteran and the other a 21 year veteran of LWC. The statement read as follows.
"I wake up every day to provide a service for a community that I love. It's not the job that's the issue, but the work environment that is the problem. The same individuals that say African Americans are lazy and that we don't want to work are the same people who discriminate, harass and make it hard for us to be successful in the work place. today is the day we make a stand. Today we not only make an example for Kentucky, but for American. We won't tolerate this anymore. I believe in God and justice and from this day forward good will prevail. We want a workplace that provides an equal opportunity for all employees and minorities across the board. We deserve a workplace that doesn't act as if it's above the law. A company that doesn't provide union leadership with illegal bribes and incentives. Lastly, we want a union that is not controlled by the company. Today is a new day. We want a company that promotes based on experience and qualifying credentials and not race and nepotism."
Torian went on to establish a bit of his experiences while once employed by LWC.
"Inside that building [LWC] is a culture of nepotism and favoritism that's been created to benefit the families of higher up individuals and also their friends and associates." Torian Murphy continued to assert, "These people are allowed to commit fire-able offenses with little to no consequences."
He further asserts that people in management positions have regularly retired and been rehired as contractors without any public posting of the job position. He believes these decisions are based off favoritism as opposed to qualifications.
LOUISVILLE WATER COMPANY RESPONSE
Shortly after the press conference held outside Louisville Water Company, they reached out to the #502LIVEstreamers with their own press statement. We were denied an interview.
"There is no place for racism, sexism, hate or discrimination at Louisville Water. Louisville Water believes everyone has a right to their opinion and we respect the right for individuals to voice their opinions.
However, many of the statements made this morning in front of our corporate office in a media-called event are inaccurate and do not represent how we do business and value our employees. We acknowledge that we can all do better, but this group’s representations of our company are simply not true.
Since the former employees made statements that were not factual, we feel compelled to respond. One of the former employees who spoke today was terminated after multiple preventable accidents in a Louisville Water vehicle and was deemed a public safety risk; another employee who spoke today was terminated when the former employee failed two drug screens; one of the former employees who spoke was on a last chance agreement and was terminated after multiple violations of company policy including falsification of company records. Other employees referenced through statements have long histories of disciplinary action but remain employed, following additional training and remedial efforts. Louisville Water does believe in a fair and equitable workplace and accountability for all employees, and our treatment of this morning’s speakers was no exception.
We are disappointed that leaders of this morning’s event apparently failed to conduct due diligence to confirm the information as there are two sides to every story. Louisville Water believes in open, transparent conversation and we are always willing to have that dialogue. However, this morning’s organizer, Tim Findley Jr., made no attempt to reach out to company leadership in advance of this media event. Had he done so, he would have been provided with information to demonstrate many of the statements made this morning were untrue. He also would have learned of our deep commitment to a fair and equitable workplace.
As a community asset for 163 years, we are committed to creating an equitable and inclusive environment as part of our workplace culture as well as in the communities we serve and nothing that was said this morning changes that."
HISTORY OF LITIGATION
Following the statement by Rev. Findley asserting active litigation against Louisville Water Company, we have began research into the history of lawsuits. Scratching the surface there is a number of civil suits that we will be researching and relaying back with an update.
Keep up to date and support non-profit, community media by subscribing to our newsletter and following on all social platforms.
Community. Driven. Media.