City of Medford may be sued for racial discrimination

Medford, Ore. — A former City of Medford employee may sue the city after he allegedly suffered from racial discrimination and unlawful employment practices.

NBC5 News has learned that tonight the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has opened an investigation into the alleged conduct.

We would like to warn you that some of the language used in the complaint is offensive.

City of Medford employees under fire accused of spewing racially charged comments and using derogatory name calling in the workplace.

In a complaint filed with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, the attorney for former Medford Public Works employee Juan Vega says her client, a Hispanic man… was “humiliated”, “offended” and “isolated” on the job.

Among the allegations in the six page complaint, Vega says coworkers referred to him as “beaner” or “the Mexican”. And when he ate fruit at work, some coworkers would ask him if he picked it himself. When eating a sandwich, one coworker even reportedly said, “I thought you guys only ate tacos and burritos.”

But Vega’s attorney claims the racial comments inside Medford Public Works were not only aimed at Hispanics. Some employees also allegedly used the “n-word” when referencing the president, and even regularly asked another African-American employee if he, “Loved fried chicken and watermelon.”

According to the complaint, Vega says he spoke up multiple times, telling the men their comments were “hurtful” and “not funny”. But he claims things really took a turn when he spoke up to a supervisor.

Vega claims his supervisor told him he didn’t want to hear the names of the accused employees, because it would, “Open a whole can of worms.”

Vega says he was then given the cold shoulder by coworkers and even questioned whether or not the brakes on a city owned truck he was driving were tampered with… because of how rare it is for a trucks brakes to go out.

Less than a month after talking to a supervisor, Vega says he was fired.

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