General Motors, stung by a lawsuit and reports about a toxic, racist atmosphere that festered at a powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio, is offering a $25,000 reward to anyone who has information about offensive graffiti, nooses and swastikas that have shown up in the plant over the past two years.
Nine black plant workers filed a lawsuit against GM last September alleging the company allowed racial discrimination and failed to take action after they reported the racist acts and threats. The reward is offered through a CrimeStoppers program administered by Toledo police and the FBI.
"We have zero tolerance for discrimination, and we're doing everything we can to identify the culprit," GM said in a statement published by the Detroit Free Press. "This is another step we've taken, working with police to intensify the investigation. We're outraged that anyone would face threats, and our hearts go out to anyone affected by this bigotry."
Workers at the plant reported finding a noose in March 2017, and a supervisor reported it to management. Marcus Boyd, a former supervisor, told CNN that an employee underneath him told him "back in the day, a person like me would've been buried with a shovel." He said he reported the incident and was told to "let things go."
Four of the plaintiffs also filed complaints with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which found probable cause that "GM engaged in unlawful discriminatory practices." GM disagreed with that finding but was ordered to establish an equal opportunity employment officer to train workers at the plant and hold annual training sessions, with curriculum submitted in advance to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
About 1,700 people work at the Toledo plant, which builds six- and eight-speed rear-wheel-drive and six-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions used in a variety of GM-branded vehicles.