Solomon Perry, a former Illinois Central Railroad conductor who had four years on the job, has filed a federal lawsuit which alleges that he had been subjected to a racially hostile environment on his job. Perry allegedly reached his tolerance level when a co-worker used a knife to cut off his dreadlocks, according to the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday.
Besides the racially hostile environment at the railroad company, Perry claimed in his lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday, that the firm didn’t adequately investigate and react to his complaints. Perry stated that the incident of having his dreads cut off was the single most horrific event that he had ever experienced in his life. He said, however, that the institutional response was worse than the actions of the individuals that victimized him.
Perry also claims that during his employment at the railroad company, the washroom walls were marked by swastikas drawn with pens. He also said that the N-word was often used. Overall, he asserts that complaints made by minorities were ignored.
Specifically, the incident that justifiably pushed Perry over the limit was when he was attacked at Markham Yard in Harvey – a south suburb of Chicago – on Nov. 10, 2012. Reportedly, Perry was in the crew room to sign out for the day. That’s when Louis Busch grabbed his dreadlocks, pulled his head, and cut off some dreadlocks with a knife. Three other persons watched and laughed.
Busch ended up being sentenced to 18 months of court supervision as well as being given diversity sensitivity training and 10 days in a work-alternative program.
The lawsuit claims that the company only reported on the physical assault, ignoring the discriminatory aspect and possible-hate crime involved with the assault.
After the incident and Perry's reporting of the incident, there were allegedly more problems for the former conductor by having received death threats.
Perry’s lawsuit is against Illinois Central Railroad, two managers, and a former co-worker.