Rivian and contractor face federal race discrimination lawsuit

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 10:36 PM CST
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NORMAL (25 News Now) - A man who worked for a Rivian Automotive contractor at the electric vehicle plant in Normal is suing his former employer claiming not enough was done to stop racial discrimination and harassment against him.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, Cornelius Richardson citied several incidents of alleged discrimination and harassment in February, June and July of last year, including one in which a coworker who reportedly called him a racial slur.

Another coworker allegedly created a black face statue and placed it on Richardson’s desk, according to the lawsuit.

Also alleged was a team leader’s comment that he loved “Black girl’s bodies” and that Richardson liked “barbecue, corn, cookouts, and I know you guys like watermelon too.”

Richardson said no action was taken by the human resources manager, who allegedly advised him to ignore the racist and offensive comments, and not to let the comments bother him or “take it to heart.

The defendant in the lawsuit is listed as Rivian, doing business as MacLellan Services. MacLellan is a Rivian contractor.

Richardson is seeking unspecified financial damages, in addition to back pay, plus interest. The court document did not say when Richardson left his job.

A Rivian spokesperson issued the following statement to 25 News Tuesday night:

“It’s Rivian’s policy that we don’t comment on active litigation. We do not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind.”

The lawsuit comes five months after a former Rivian employee filed a federal suit alleging the company failed to deal with sexual harassment that was so intolerable that she had to leave her job.

In that case, Rivian also said harassment and discrimination are not tolerated in the workplace.