Following a string of alleged racist acts inside the General Motors’ Toledo transmission plant in Ohio, the state plans to issue civil rights training in response.
Ohio’s Attorney General, Dave Yost, announced Wednesday his office would provide the training to employees at the plant. The training follows lawsuits filed by nine African American GM employees, some current and some former, that claimed other employees engaged in racist behavior and left threatening messages. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission also found three instances where nooses were found in the plant between March and June of 2017. Other messages included “whites only” signs, Nazi swastikas, and ethnic slurs tossed around by other employees. Allegedly, this behavior occurred over the time span of four years.
The three lawsuits filed seek unspecified amounts in damages and call for GM’s action to end the behavior. GM CEO Mary Barra has visited the plant herself this past February. The automaker has also offered a $25,000 cash reward to find the person responsible for the nooses, drawings, and other racist messages places inside the plant.
On the topic of the civil rights training, Yost said it’s not only about respecting coworkers but also showing other companies Ohio is a productive state for businesses to invest in. “Treat the people in your workplace with dignity,” and good-paying jobs will stay in Ohio, Yost said in the announcement.
A GM spokesperson told Automotive News (subscription required) that the civil rights training is one of many steps the automaker is taking to end the behavior inside the plant. More training exercises will occur outside of the civil rights classes. The attorney general’s training will consist of nine classroom sessions.