A black mechanic was fired from a Georgia county after he refused to forgive a white coworker for calling him the N-word, a racial discrimination lawsuit alleges.
Carlen Loyal, 52, was described using the slur in June 2019 by his Bartow County associate Kirk Ledford.
Loyal, a mechanic who keeps pigs in his spare time, texted Ledford a feed recipe in June 2019, prompting a response from Ledford stating: ‘N***** at work showed me this, I have not tried it’, it is alleged.
It appears Ledford inadvertently reacted to Loyal while using the slur, though further details on the sequence of events have not been shared.
Loyal was shocked by the racist language and complained that he was no longer allowed to work at Ledford, the lawsuit said.
Loyal immediately complained and was pulled to a meeting where HR director Robin Puryear told the employee that he had misunderstood the message and read the definition of the word aloud.
“You don’t think it’s you,” Puryear is said to have told Loyal.
Puryear responded by suggesting that Loyal shouldn’t be offended because he listened to rap music that uses the ‘n-word’ and probably refers to his friends with the same term,” the lawsuit said.
The HR director suggested that Loyal and Ledford shake hands and “forgive and forget.”
Robin Puryear, a former Bartow County Road Department employee, has reportedly rejected the racial allegations a black employee claimed made about him by a white employee.
Carlen Loyal, 52, was described using the slur by his Bartow County associate Kirk Ledford in June 2019. Pictured: Bartow County courthouse
“Why didn’t you just call him ac****** and be done with it,” Puryear added, referring to a slur against whites.
At the 2019 HR complaints meeting, Puryear asked Loyal if he mentioned the racist text message to anyone else. Loyal admitted to telling Turner.
To which Puryear reportedly replied, “I wish you hadn’t.”
Loyal left the meeting after refusing Puryear’s order to “shake Ledford’s hand and ‘forgive and forget’.”
Loyal was later fired two weeks later for allegedly lying on his timesheet. The former employee’s black brother-in-law, Bobby Tuner, who was also aware of the racist complaint and worked alongside him, was also fired.
Days later, Loyal and Turner were working overtime to respond to multiple road emergencies. The employees were later asked to explain to HR which phone calls they were responding to.
After several meetings, they were fired on June 25, 2019 for “deviations in dates, times and locations of reported call-outs.”
There have been no previous issues with either man’s work, and they are confident they’ve been kicked out for complaining about Ledford’s alleged racism.
At the 2019 HR complaints meeting, Puryear asked Loyal if he mentioned the racist text message to anyone else. Loyal admitted to telling his brother-in-law Bobby Turner. The pair were both fired two weeks later for allegedly falsifying time cards
Loyal and Turner filed suit Thursday in US District Court in the Northern District of Georgia after being “subjected to race-based acts of harassment, humiliation and workplace harassment.”
They are demanding undisclosed compensation for the ‘pain and suffering’ caused by their former…
U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan rebuked the actions of Bartow County employees for allowing discrimination in the workplace.
“No one should be forced to work in an environment where employers condone racist comments and employees are expected to tolerate them,” Buchanan said at a news conference.
“It is also unacceptable for an employer to create a work environment in which employees who have the courage to report such abhorrent behavior experience retaliation from their supervisors and must terminate their jobs.”
Officials suggest the charges against the county violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VII, “when it subjected former employee Carlen Loyal to a racially hostile work environment, retaliated against former employee Bobby Turner and fired both men.”
U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan reprimanded Bartow County employees’ actions for allowing workplace discrimination
Puryear later resigned in late 2019 after the county investigated a sexual harassment complaint filed against her by a firefighter, according to the lawsuit.
She now runs a tanning salon and has been approached by DailyMail.com for a comment.
The investigation concluded that Puryear’s statements were not ‘reliable or credible’ after she became angry with the firefighter for complaining and insisting she was a victim.
The province concluded that Puryear was ‘not candid’ and ‘that there was a loss of trust.’