Detroit Man Sues Contractor for Alleged Discrimination

February 20, 2018

A Detroit, Mich., construction worker is suing a contractor for alleged discrimination and racism.

Harold Wilson, 63, filed a lawsuit against Hardman Construction Inc. last week, The Detroit News reported .

Wilson alleges the contractor used fake addresses for its suburban workers so the firm could meet a city requirement regarding the makeup of its workforce on the Little Caesars Arena project. Firms with a $3 million contract receiving public funding must have a workforce of at least 51 percent Detroit residents, according to city law.

Wilson had to wait more than two months to be hired. He alleges that he was segregated on the work site – he wasn’t allowed to use the same water cooler or put his lunch bucket in the same area as other employees.

He was fired in June 2015 on his second day at work, according to the lawsuit.

“All they needed was my Detroit address, and when they got that, they didn’t need me,” Wilson said. “They could then keep my address on the books for a long time.”

Few major Detroit developments have met the 51 percent hiring goal in recent years, according to city officials and others in the construction industry. Dozens of contractors who worked on the arena had to pay a total of $2.9 million in fines for not meeting the hiring goal. Hardman paid almost $22,500 for missing the goal for eight months, but their numbers later improved, according to city data.

Hardman’s attorneys with law firm Plunkett Cooney said the company denies the allegations of discrimination.

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