“Monkey” and “blackie” were only two of the racially charged slurs that were allegedly hurled at the only black bus driver at an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in Brooklyn, N.Y., Newsweek reports.
Willis Baker claims in a lawsuit that while employed at the United Talmudical Academy of Boro Park Inc. last year, he was not only subjected to the racial epithets but also had to put up with extra work and was denied back wages and overtime pay, the news site notes. The 56-year-old bus driver also says that Yanke Schaefer, who hired him for the job, openly called Baker his “monkey friend” to his face as well as in front of others.
“I just thought to myself, I really got myself into one hell of a pickle here,” Baker recalls thinking when Schaefer allegedly said the slur.
But according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, the harassment did not stop there. While he was driving the bus, according to the lawsuit, students called the driver “monkey,” “blackie” and “stupid.” They also reportedly threw “candy, spit balls, paper and solid hard objects” at him while teachers on the bus allegedly turned a blind eye, Newsweek reports.
In the lawsuit, Baker also claims that his employer ordered him to clean and service buses that he didn’t drive. Baker says that he was the only one who was told to do so and did not get any extra money for the additional work. Baker says that when he mentioned the extra work and the slurs to Schaefer, he allegedly told Baker to “shut up and appreciate the fact that [he had] a job in the first place,” the site notes.
Schaefer accused Baker of causing two separate accidents involving a car, one in August and one in December, and then insisted that the bus driver pay for each accident, at a cost of $1,500 apiece. In August, $500 was deducted from three separate paychecks of his for one alleged accident. Baker insists, however, that this accident never happened; nor was there ever any damage to the bus. The bus driver also says that Schaefer never gave him any proof of a collision.
Source: The Root | BREANNA EDWARDS