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Persistent Discrimination Challenges Kansas City, Kansas Board of Public Utilities as 10th Lawsuit Emerges

The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Public Utilities is confronted with its 10th discrimination lawsuit as Eric Lindsey, a Black carpenter employed since 2012, alleges repeated harassment in a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

The BPU is currently facing multiple ongoing lawsuits related to claims of race and disability discrimination. In the past year, lawsuits included allegations of racial slurs, racist and sexist comments by a supervisor, and disability discrimination. Five additional employees sued the Unified Government, the utility company owner, in 2022, citing racial discrimination, hostile work environments, and targeted investigations. Another lawsuit filed this month claimed denial of job opportunities based on race.

Lindsey’s complaint highlights instances of alleged racism, including a coworker admitting to being “yes, kind of” racist and another responding to him with a racially insensitive remark. Actions such as removing a breaker, hindering ventilation during sanding, and assigning asbestos removal without prior notice are detailed.

The lawsuit characterizes these events as a “discriminatory, abusive, and harassing” series orchestrated by the Unified Government. Despite Lindsey’s complaints, little action was taken, and he claims to have faced retaliation. The BPU, represented by spokesman David Mehlhaff, refrains from commenting on ongoing litigation.

In an escalating series of legal battles, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in Kansas City, Kansas, finds itself entangled in its 10th discrimination lawsuit. Eric Lindsey, a Black carpenter with a tenure since 2012, filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging persistent harassment within the utility. The BPU is currently grappling with multiple ongoing lawsuits that accuse the organization of fostering a culture of race and disability discrimination.

Over the past year, legal actions have been initiated against the BPU, citing instances such as the use of racial slurs by a coworker, a supervisor making “racist and sexist comments,” and claims of disability discrimination. Notably, five employees in 2022 pursued legal action against the Unified Government, the entity that owns the utility company, alleging racial discrimination, hostile work environments, and targeted investigations. Another lawsuit, filed recently, asserts denial of job opportunities based on race.

Lindsey’s lawsuit sheds light on various incidents of alleged racism, including a coworker admitting to being “yes, kind of” racist, and another responding with a racially insensitive remark. Specific actions, such as the removal of a breaker hindering ventilation during sanding and assigning asbestos removal without prior notice, are detailed in the complaint. The lawsuit characterizes these events as part of a “discriminatory, abusive, and harassing” series orchestrated by the Unified Government.

Despite Lindsey’s efforts to address the issues through complaints, he claims that little action was taken, and in some cases, he faced retaliation. Spokesman David Mehlhaff, representing the BPU, refrains from commenting on the pending litigation. The mounting legal challenges paint a concerning picture of persistent discrimination within the Kansas City, Kansas Board of Public Utilities, prompting heightened scrutiny and calls for accountability.

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