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Meet John Tindal – A Victim of Coca-Cola’s Discriminatory Employment Practices

Name: John Tindal
Year Born: I was born 1960
Marital Status: I am married father of 3 children
Years of Service: I have worked 23 years at The Coca Cola Company
Location of Facility: Elmsford NY
Job Title: Haulage Driver

What John wants to say to Muhtar Kent:

I would like to say to Mr. Muhtar Kent that Coke claims to be an equal opportunity company, but equal opportunity means more than just hiring minorities. It also means treating them fairly – Same respect. Same opportunities.

Personal Statement:

I have received awards for Safety and also for my Attendance

I am a good employee. I was complimented on my ability to perform my job by supervisor Larry Maloney. He said: "Unbeknown to you, I’ve been watching you do your job and I wanted to tell you, you are very competent". Unfortunately that did not stop me from getting harassed.

This harassment caused me and my family much unnecessary stress because I would come home very stressed and angry. This would be the cause of arguments between me and my wife causing stress on her and my whole family unnecessarily. The stress was unnecessary. I would come home frequently and tell my wife "I have to get out of there! I can’t take this nonsense much longer!"

Lawsuit

Factual Allegations

John Tindal

1. Mr. Tindal, a black American, has been employed by Coca-Cola since July 1989 as haulage driver.

2. Since 2009, white supervisors Larry Moloney, Gabino Roche, and Joe Aemesigeo have subjected Mr. Tindal to frequent harassment, frivolous discipline, and biased assignment of work duties.

3. The discriminatory treatment against Mr. Tindal falls into several categories. In assigning days of work, the white supervisors have frequently ignored the union-established seniority system in order to allow white drivers with less seniority to earn overtime while Mr. Tindal has been not given work. And in recalling drivers to the station after a specified number of hours of work, Mr. Tindal has often been recalled earlier than white drivers who started working later in the day than he did, decreasing Mr. Tindal’s work hours and compensation. Further, Mr. Tindal has frequently been disciplined for frivolous causes, which the white drivers have not had to endure. Numerous examples of these kinds of discrimination may be seen in the past two years.

4. On February 7, 2009, Mr. Tindal was denied work. However, against the seniority system, a white driver who was junior to him did get to drive. Mr. Tindal submitted an administrative grievance and was later paid for that day.

5. On February 14, 2009, Mr. Tindal once again was denied work. Two white drivers who were junior to him were given administrative work and were paid. Mr. Tindal again grieved the situation to white supervisor Joe Aemesigeo, but his response was that administrative positions were not covered by the union contract and could be assigned based on the company’s discretion. However, upon Mr. Tindal’s recollection, administrative duties are only assigned to white drivers when there is a shortage of driving work, while black drivers are simply not given work or pay. Mr. Tindal’s grievance failed to get him compensation for that day.

6. On October 11, 2010, shop steward Thomas Starpoli asked Mr. Tindal to work "switch" driving in the yard, and then informed the central office of his assignment. Mr. Roche then called Mr. Tindal and angrily asked him what he was doing and told him to come to his office. There, Mr. Roche told him that "common sense" should have let Mr. Tindal know to check in with the office to inform them of his new assignment. When Mr. Tindal tried to respond by saying that Mr. Starpoli had informed the office of his whereabouts, Mr. Roche put his hand up to silence him. To Mr. Tindal’s knowledge, white employees are not monitored to such a degree and are not treated in such a disrespectful fashion.

7. On November 17, 2010, Mr. Tindal drove to a store in where he needed several hours to unload his truck. Mr. Roche called Mr. Tindal and angrily yelled at him for the delay, and then asked to speak the local supervisor. The local supervisor proceeded to inform Mr. Roche that there were multiple trucks ahead of Mr. Tindal’s and that he clearly needed more time to unload his truck. To Mr. Tindal’s knowledge, Mr. Roche does not call other drivers to harass them about unloading times, and was already aware that there would be delays in unloading.

8. On November 18, 2010, Mr. Tindal, who was instructed by Mr. Roche to call him every half hour to inform him of his whereabouts, found out from a white driver that he never has to call back so frequently. On January 4, 2011, he found out again from another white driver that he did not have to call back every half hour like Mr. Tindal did.

9. On November 19, 2010, Mr. Tindal was recalled to the office due to supposed time limits, while three white drivers who started working before him that day were not recalled. These drivers remarked that they felt it was "not right" that Mr. Tindal was being called back before they were, even though they had already driven for more hours.

10. On December 23, 2010, Eric Foust, a white driver and dispatcher, informed Mr. Tindal that the day before Mr. Roche had once again been trying to recall Mr. Tindal before other drivers who started earlier than him. Mr. Foust also informed Mr. Tindal that Mr. Aemesigeo "had a problem with him." Mr. Tindal could not understand this because he has never done anything to break company policy or offend his supervisors.

11. On December 31, 2010, pizza was delivered to the dispatcher’s office to be distributed to the entire haulage department. However, Mr. Tindal and the other black drivers did not have access to enter the dispatcher’s office to receive any pizza, while the white employees were allowed to do so.

12. On January 13, 2011, Mr. Tindal was again recalled before other drivers who started earlier in the day were. A supervisor asked him if he was a "troublemaker," because he was always being recalled earlier than others. Mr. Tindal does not believe he was ever a troublemaker, and that racial bias is the real cause of him being recalled earlier.

13. In January 2011, Mr. Tindal was treated for a repetitive stress injury in his elbow, which his doctor described as work-related. When he submitted the necessary forms to be put on worker’s compensation, his supervisors Mr. Roche and Mr. Aemesigeo took weeks before returning the forms, and forced Mr. Tindal to undergo a needless drug test. Further, their conclusion was that the injury was "avoidable", which would jeopardize Mr. Tindal’s career at Coca-Cola.

14. After Mr. Tindal retained an attorney to seek workers’ compensation, the company benefits coordinator spoke to Mr. Roche and Mr. Aemesigeo. He pointed out that these two supervisors had recently declared that a very similar repetitive stress injury for a white employee was "unavoidable." Only after this confrontation did Mr. Roach and Mr. Aemesigeo change their evaluation of Mr. Tindal’s injury to "unavoidable", and allow him to receive workers’ compensation.

15. In April 2011, Mr. Tindal filed a formal complaint to Human Resources about his the harassing and biased treatment he has suffered from his supervisors. Since then, only some of the frivolous recalls and discipline has stopped, but most aspects of his discriminatory treatment have remained.