Complaint: Racial slurs, threats at Daimler plant

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's labor commissioner has filed a complaint against heavy-duty truck and school bus manufacturer Daimler Trucks North America, alleging five employees at its Portland plant were subjected to racial slurs and threats.

A statement Wednesday from Commissioner Brad Avakian says the accusations will be investigated, and if they bear out, workers could be awarded damages including back pay if they've quit.

Among the allegations is that a Daimler Trucks employee threatened a black co-worker with a noose, saying he'd drag the African-American behind a car, the statement said.

Avakian's complaint says the company failed to take "appropriate corrective action."

A statement from Daimler Trucks said it doesn't tolerate discrimination and trains employees to avoid it. It also said the company is cooperating with the investigation and has hired an outside investigator to look into the allegations.

"Additionally, we are currently conducting comprehensive face-to-face anti-harassment training at the plant which will be completed by mid-October," the statement from Daimler Trucks spokesman David Giroux said.

The Oregon-based truck company is a subsidiary of Daimler AG, a German multinational corporation that also makes Mercedes-Benz automobiles.

Earlier this year, Daimler Trucks broke ground for a new $150 million headquarters in Portland. When it announced its plans last year, Daimler it said it expected to add up to 400 white-collar jobs when construction is complete, expected in 2016.

At the time, its Portland workforce was 2,800, including about 750 people in blue-collar manufacturing jobs making Western Star trucks.