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Coca-Cola: Cesspool of Racial Discrimination


"1. Coca-Cola may be an enjoyable refreshment for most, but its black and Hispanic workers produce Coca-Cola’s beverages in a cesspool of racial discrimination. There is an endemic culture of racism at Coca-Cola that runs through its management and supervisors at its New York bottling plants in Elmsford and Maspeth. The 16 Plaintiffs herein have suffered from the worst of its ills in terms of biased work assignments and allotment of hours, unfair discipline and retaliation, and the caustic work environment.

"2. Black and Hispanic production workers at Coca-Cola are typically assigned to the most undesirable and physically dangerous positions, and to tests that are outside of their job descriptions. Meanwhile, the managers contravene the established seniority system by giving better jobs and more overtime hours to white workers with less seniority than minority workers. As several of the Plaintiffs have found, opportunities for advancement and promotion within the company are routinely biased against minority workers. Finally, the truck drivers among the Plaintiffs have had their hours unfairly limited and prevented from working overtime, while white drivers do not have to face these problems.

"3. Those among the Plaintiffs who have dared to speak up about the discrimination to managers or human resources have not only found no resolution to their concerns, but instead have faced swift retaliation from the white managers. This retaliation has come in the form of unwanted scrutiny and unfair disciplinary actions, up to the point of suspension and termination for some of the Plaintiffs.

"4. The minority workers of Coca-Cola face an atmosphere of casual racism from co-workers, which not only goes unpunished, but is often perpetrated by white supervisors and managers. The Plaintiffs frequently witness overt displays of racism in the plant in the form of offensive remarks and ridicule, while suffering from racially charged harassment from supervisors. This hostile work environment has caused many of the Plaintiffs significant emotional harm, to the point where they must seek therapy to deal with the stress from work."

Similar issues have been reported in several other Coca-Cola plants and there is now a lawsuit pending filed by a fired worker from Coke’s facility in Smithtown.