Eight File Racism Lawsuit Against Bridgestone-Firestone

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By Becky Ogann

DES MOINES (AP) - Eight workers at a Bridgestone-Firestone plant in Des Moines are suing the company.

They claim they were subjected to years of racial jokes and threats.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Polk County, the eight workers, all black, claim they were referred to as slaves by co-workers who compared them to monkeys and displayed nooses and swastikas.

The lawsuit says the abuse dates back to 1997, and alleges that managers ignored the behavior and helped delay investigations into harassment by white employees.

The workers' attorney, Thomas Newkirk, says the alleged abuse occurred in isolated incidents and the affected employees didn't realize it was widespread.

The company says it's committed to creating a safe and healthy workplace, and doesn't believe there is any merit to the allegations.

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