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Meet Guillermo “Will” Nunez – A Victim of Coca-Cola’s Discriminatory Employment Practices

Name: Guillermo "Will" Nunez
Year born: 1978
Marital Status: Married with six children
Years of Service: 10 years working for Coca-Cola (since 2002) and still presently working
Location of Facility: Maspeth Production and I have worked in Elmsford
Job Title: I’m currently working as a Dispatcher/Lead Clerk for the Transportation Division

What Will wants to say to Muhtar Kent:

My advice for Mr. Kent is that he should come up to the facilities and conduct a REAL investigation as to the allegations that Coca-Cola is facing. Rather than getting agents who are more interested in covering up and hiding substantial proofs, he should employ REAL impartial investigators who will conduct a proper investigation and act to correct the injustices that Coca-Cola is dealing its employees. I would also like to add that Mr. Kent has to realize that a paycheck is no excuse to violate peoples’ rights and subject people to cruel conditions, that making profits at all costs is not the ideology to embrace, and that a Corporation can still make profits while respecting human rights and moral laws.

Finally, I would like Mr. Kent to compare The Coke 16′s story to the story of his father helping Jews at a time that they were being persecuted and oppressed by Nazis. His father ignored the dangers and put his life on the line to help people in need. Ultimately, Ismail Necdet Kent thought not about self gain or self preservation when human rights and morals came to question. I hope that his son, Muhtar, could come to the realization that just as the Jews were being persecuted and oppressed by Nazis, the Coke 16 are being oppressed and persecuted by Coca-Cola. I challenge Muhtar Kent to take the heroic position as his father did and stand up against human rights violation and all forms of discrimination, rather than justifying and advocating on behalf of the aggressor.

Personal Statement:

Management has deliberately assigned extra and excess work outside of my job description and maintains the position that they have the right to do so because they are Coca-Cola and they can get away with it. Coca-Cola’s management often repeat such phrases as: "This is a dictatorship and not a democracy" and "Your job is whatever I tell you to do," and "Who told you to think? We don’t pay you to think. Just shut up and do what I say."

Because of the blatant and constant discrimination that I have experienced at Coca-Cola, not to mention the numerous amounts of retaliation while working in a hostile environment, I have anxiety attacks and in some cases, panic attacks that have sent me to the hospital. I have suffered depression and self-esteem issues. My marriage has also suffered because of the overwhelming stress that Coca-Cola has imposed on me. My children have suffered seeing their father have nervous breakdowns and witnessing the tension between my wife and me. I have done everything to shelter my family from the evils that Coca-Cola is dealing me, but the trauma that I have experienced has overpowered even my best poker face. I have been broken down by Coca-Cola’s abuses, and I now seek mental and emotional healing, as well as mending the damage caused to my marriage.

Lawsuit

Factual Allegations

Guillermo Nunez

1. Mr. Nunez, a Hispanic American, has been employed by Coca-Cola since October 2002 as a transportation dispatcher.

2. Throughout his employment, Mr. Nunez has been subject to discrimination in his assignment of duties, opportunities for advancement, and disciplinary actions from supervisors. The verbal harassment and hostile work environment have caused Mr. Nunez panic attacks that have sent him to the emergency room.

3. From the start of his employment, Mr. Nunez was treated differently from similarly situated white employees. He only received four days of training before his white manager, Larry Moloney, sent him to work on dispatch, while white workers typically have weeks or even months of training before they begin working.

4. Mr. Moloney’s expectations of work from Mr. Nunez were also much higher than from his white co-workers. Mr. Nunez was expected to work on weekends, and was threatened with termination if he did not do so, while white workers could choose whether to work on weekends or not. Mr. Moloney also expected Mr. Nunez to perform the duties of supervisors, even though he was not paid at a supervisor’s salary.

5. Further, Mr. Nunez suffered from an environment of casual racism while working under Mr. Moloney. Like Mr. Hernandez, Mr. Nunez also frequently heard from Mr. Moloney, "eres maricon?" ("are you a homesexual?"). Mr. Moloney also remarked, in reference to Mr. Nunez’s children and Latino ethnicity, that "you people always have so many kids." Further, when Mr. Nunez went to work wearing jeans, Mr. Moloney would reprimand him for looking like a "thug" or "from the streets," while he would never reprimand white employees when they wore jeans to work.

6. Mr. Nunez later worked for a white supervisor, Gambino Roche, who, despite being from Cuba, frequently made references to his "pure" German ancestry. Mr. Roche would frequently remark on how efficiently Nazi Germany was run, despite the obviously racist implications of such comments.

7. Mr. Nunez also observed the racist treatment of Louis Mack, a black driver, who Mr. Moloney frequently called a "pimp." Mr. Mack was fired because of a minor incident when he asked for a case of Dasani water that had fallen on the floor and hence could not be sold. When a production worker gave him the water, Mr. Mack gave it to the security guard to hold onto it until the end of the shift. The guard reported this to Mr. Moloney, which eventually led to Mr. Mack’s termination. Mr. Nunez is also aware of a white employee, Mr. Miller, who fought with another employee and was actually caught by the security guard stealing numerous items from the factory, but was never terminated.

8. In 2004, a new white employee named Robert D’Amico was given several months of training rather than the two days Mr. Nunez received. Further, in order to accommodate his training, management moved him to Mr. Nunez’s shift, and transferred Mr. Nunez to another facility. Mr. Nunez believes his transfer was due to the fact that he was the only minority dispatcher on that shift.

9. As a truck dispatcher, Mr. Nunez also observed in the detail the company practice of giving minority truck drivers fewer hours of driving time than white drivers, as co-Plaintiffs John Tindal and Ramon Hernandez experienced. Mr. Nunez read many emails from white supervisors which, using language referent to animals, ordered the dispatchers to "reign in" or "put a leash on" certain black drivers who were getting extra driving time. But when a white driver was given extra driving time, the orders instead told the dispatchers to help make sure that his paperwork was filled out properly so he would be paid for his extra work. Mr. Nunez believes this practice of discriminating against minority drivers extended throughout all shifts at the plant.

10. While his white supervisors were giving Mr. Nunez extra tasks to perform, they suggested that he would be in line for a promotion. The supervisors would compliment him on his excellent performance and write positive remarks on his performance reviews. But his overall ratings were only "3" on a scale of 1 to 5, "meeting expectations." These ratings meant that Mr. Nunez would not get raises based on his performance reviews.

11. Further, when opportunities for promotions appeared, Mr. Nunez was never allowed to achieve them. In 2005, a supervisory position opened for the third (night) shift, and Mr. Nunez was recommended by a supervisor to apply for the position. Mr. Nunez did not want to work the third shift because of family obligations, but he expressed to management that he would be happy to apply to this position if it was in the first or second shifts. He was told there was absolutely no way to change the shift to first or second, so Mr. Nunez did not apply. A white employee was hired for the position, but within a month was able to change his shift to the first shift. Had Mr. Nunez been properly informed that this change was possible, he certainly would have applied for the position.

12. In 2006, another supervisory position was open, and this time Mr. Nunez did apply for it. He had two excellent interviews with managers, who then informed him that the position would not longer be available because of lack of money. Mr. Nunez told the managers he would be interested in any similar positions if they came up. To his surprise, a few weeks later a white female named Lucy was hired for a supervisory position that was almost identical to the one Mr. Nunez applied for. When Mr. Nunez inquired as to why he was rejected and Lucy was hired, he was told that there were significant differences between the job he applied for and the one Lucy received. However, the two positions were identical in almost every way except name.

13. In 2007, Mr. Nunez applied for a transportation supervisor position, but was again turned down. Instead, the company hired a black employee named Chris Harris, whom Mr. Nunez is aware was owed a favor for testifying about an incident that got another minority worker terminated. Again, despite his supervisors’ promises of a promotion for working beyond his job description, Mr. Nunez was not given one. To this day, he remains in the same position he started in.

14. From 2006 onward, Mr. Nunez has been subjected to increasing hostility from his white supervisors, Joe Aemesigeo and Debra Babic. Both supervisors have harassed Mr. Nunez over his work and any minor mistakes he makes, while not mistreating white employees the same way. Ms. Babic has also made frequent remarks about her sexual exploits with black men and even black co-workers, remarking at times that "there’s a black man in my bed."

15. From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Nunez made several complaints to Human Resources about the unfair way he was kept from advancing in the company and about his mistreatment by supervisors. Each time, however, Human Resources would take the side of management without offering any constructive way to improve his situation. He was told to "take [his complaints] up the chain of command." This advice was useless, as complaining to the same supervisors who were harassing him would only set him up for more retaliation.

16. In 2008, the stressful work environment and mistreatment caused Mr. Nunez to have a severe panic attack while at work. He had chest pains and breathlessness, and thought he was having a heart attack. An ambulance had to be called, and he was sent to an emergency room for treatment. Since then, Mr. Nunez has been seeing a psychologist to deal with the anxiety and stress caused by his work.

17. In 2008, Mr. Nunez discovered that he was being paid significantly less than a white dispatcher made when the latter had fewer years of seniority than Mr. Nunez did. Mr. Nunez contacted Human Resources about this discrepancy, but the issue was never resolved.

18. In 2009, black supervisor Chris Harris asked Mr. Nunez to call a manager he did not know. Mr. Nunez refused, saying he did not feel comfortable calling someone he had never heard of, and Mr. Harris responded by threatening, "Joe Aemesigeo will take care of you." Mr. Nunez reported this incident to Human Resources, which immediately took the side of the managers and offered no help. Since then, Mr. Nunez has felt that Mr. Aemesigeo has been especially biased against him.

19. On December 28, 2010, Mr. Nunez came to work after a severe snowstorm, which caused many delays in the processing of trucks and drivers at the plant. While Mr. Nunez was trying his best to handle the situation, production manager Ms. Babic repeatedly called him asking the same questions, and accused him of lying about various aspects of his work. Despite his rising anxiety, Mr. Nunez responded calmly to each phone call. Then while Mr. Nunez was busy dispatching several drivers, Ms. Babic called again, and yelled at him for putting her on speakerphone. Mr. Nunez responded by asking, "why do you have such an attitude towards me?" Ms. Babic immediately yelled, "you see Joe, what I have to deal with?" This indicated that Ms. Babic had set it up so that Mr. Aemesigeo was listening the entire time, and had wanted to instigate some kind of outburst from Mr. Nunez.

20. The week, Mr. Nunez received a disciplinary write up and "coaching letter" about poor communication on the phone and CB radios. Mr. Nunez believes this discipline was completely unfair given that he was doing his best in a difficult situation while having to deal with constant harassment from Ms. Babic.

21. On January 21, 2011, Mr. Nunez was unfairly disciplined again, this time for not exactly working the 3:00 PM to 11:30 PM schedule for his shift. Mr. Nunez previously had an understanding with supervisors Mr. Aemesigeo and Mr. Moloney that he could come in a few minutes late if he left a few minutes late, but this understanding was now disregarded. Mr. Nunez believes he was written up solely to retaliate against him for protesting about Ms. Babic’s harassment. Shortly after this stressful and unfair disciplinary meeting, Mr. Nunez had another severe panic attack that required an ambulance to be called to send him to the emergency room.

22. In addition to the severe panic attacks that have required hospital visits, Mr. Nunez has suffered depression, paranoia and family problems from the hostile work environment at Coca-Cola. He feels frustrated at the lack of opportunities to advance and the unfair discipline he has received from his white supervisors and managers. With no help from Human Resources or management, he feels trapped in a cycle of discrimination and retaliation at his workplace.