Worker Allegedly Fired Over Gary Coleman And Swastikas

Employees often hang whimsical pictures on workplace walls to spruce up the decor and boost morale. But sometimes those pictures can profoundly upset morale. For example, if the pictures happen to include: a dollar bill with George Washington colored in black with a noose around his neck; and swastikas and a KKK hood, next to a photo of Gary Coleman, the late child star of "Diff'rent Strokes."

Dion Miller was the kitchen supervisor at Sparx Restaurant in Menomonie, Wis. He is black and didn't like the pictures taped up to the cooler, according to his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. So he explained that to the burger joint's managers, who allegedly replied that it was all just a joke. Three weeks later, Miller was fired for "a bad attitude," reports Minnesota's Star Tribune newspaper.

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The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the restaurant this week. It alleges that Miller was fired in retaliation for his complaint about the racist atmosphere created by the images. It's seeking back pay and job reinstatement, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

Retaliation was the most common charge brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year, making up 37 percent of all the complaints.

"Sparx bills itself as a 'family restaurant' even as its managers posted imagery which evokes shameful memories of racially motivated physical attacks and lynchings," John Hendrickson, a Chicago attorney with the EEOC, said in a statement.

Perhaps the Sparx staff should just sit down and watch a few episodes of Coleman (pictured above) in "Diff'rent Strokes." Its messages of racial tolerance and class unity are still valuable today.



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SNTV - Gary Coleman Remembered



Filed under: Social Media, Lawsuits

Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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Buckingham's

Hate crimes have NO PLACE anywhere in the world,....except Iran and Iraq, and pakistan.

March 30 2012 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
edalbert4

Just a thought. Remove the eyes of those people that don't like a person because of there color. If they still complain sew the mouth shut!

March 30 2012 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eddiekellyrn

yeah, he should a tidy sum from a small town restauraunt..... that and food stamps he'll be set for life!

March 30 2012 at 8:30 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to eddiekellyrn's comment
Trisha Lynn Dragon

Ahh thanks. The inbred idiot voice is quite simply not represented enough.

Thank you for your contribution. We are all stocked up now. Please feel free to spread your special brand of ignorant twit with others. We certainly don't want to be seen as gluttons hogging up all your preciously rare insight.

March 31 2012 at 1:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kb6771

I guess you'll be set with your outhouse and water pump shower!

March 31 2012 at 1:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
allison hunter

Good for him, I hope he soaks them good. I'm not black but I was harassed and intimidated and forced from my job of 26 years because I refused to break the law so something would look good for our new CEO. Keep in mind that OSHA is only friends with the big corporations

March 30 2012 at 8:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
frankc354

some people let power get to their heads but some how stupidity blends in and you get a jack ass boss

March 30 2012 at 8:17 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mallekoote@cox.net

That guy is in for a huge settlement ---- good for him!

March 30 2012 at 7:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Bitches Brew-70'

im not surprize that it happen you have some dumb ass redneck like attention,now the burger joint is "marked" way too go jackass bigot employer,you just stained your boss's business!!!

March 30 2012 at 7:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Your Dyna-Tastic

This case never would have reached EEOC filing standards of discrimination had it not been for evidence. Just because all of the details are not spelled out in this article does not change the fact the employer was okay with a hostile work environment based on racial equality. Management was informed of some bad situations and did not deter what is discriminatory and insensitive behavior. Training for the managers will be one of this employee lawyers' demands too in addition to backpay,severance possibly, unemployment benefits.

The whisteblower (Dion Miller), will get his job back, but, it will not be at the same location. Through a mediation sit down and chat meeting with the higher ups in charge, this employee will be afforded the right to a job at another location and you best believe the newly located co-workers will show the same respect this employee deserves. This restaurant (Sparx) needs to come to the 21st century standards. Even though Sparx may not and probably does not have other locations that means they could be ordered by a judge or jury to pay future wages until Mr. Dion can find other employment in his field.

I love all people, black, white, etc. PEACE. I feel sorry for fools of any color!

March 30 2012 at 7:05 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
csmomo

JUST A JOKE. Yes, indeed. Very very funny.

March 30 2012 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shawn

Let me see, ok to have a chanel called BET, United Negro College Fund etc, the race card is fine whne played for that races advantage.

March 30 2012 at 6:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Shawn's comment
madlyfem

BET hires non-black people to work there, as does the UNCF. There has never been an anti-white complaint concerning work place harassment.

This person was an employee, and complained about a violent, racist display in view of the entire work staff, including him. Not only was his complaint blown off, he was fired.

Most of us were unhappy about a picture, okay, an art work, that showed the cross sitting in urine. Had that been taped to the cooler instead, and had the worker complained about that, and had he been fired, whose side would you be on? Does that clear it up for you?

March 30 2012 at 6:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mydaddyscat

When it's white, it's just called TV, magazine, sitcom, etc. Whites have always indicated who they are talking about. If they are talking about themselves, they say "American", citizens, men, women, children, people. If they are talking about anyone else, they say black, Asian, Hispanic, gay, Jew (of course in the past they used other words for those groups, but they can't do *that* anymore - let me pause, while I shed one crocodile tear). So they don't need to label their programs, magazines as white. You are only need to look at them to know they are white. Everyone else has to label their stuff to distinguish what it is. You should be glad, less you stumble on something you (as you always do) assume is white.

Oh, poor white people, gone are the good old days when women, children, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Jews knew their place.

Let's all take a moment of silence for the decline of white folks. Whine, whine, whine. Hey and what's all the whining about reverse racism and discrimination. According to you there has never been any such thing in the first place. Can't have your cake and your ice cream and eat it, too, anymore.

Boo-hoo

March 31 2012 at 12:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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