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Harley-Davidson workers allege racial discrimination, harassment

Harley-Davidson was founded right here in Milwaukee more than 100 years ago. Though the company is known for its high-quality motorcycles, its reputation has been altered by allegations made by employees at the company’s Kansas City plant.

Workers there say that have for years been subjected to racial discrimination and harassment. At a recent press conference, employees said that they have seen swastikas and nooses displayed at the factory and have repeatedly heard racial epithets. Graffiti there has been aimed at black employees, telling them to go back to Africa.

"This is 2019. This stuff has to stop,” said a contract worker in an interview with NBC News. “Something needs to be done."

Harley-Davidson issued a statement that it does not allow discrimination or harassment. The company said it actively enforces its anti-harassment policy and that it has put in place procedures for employees to report inappropriate behavior. It said that it has investigated complaints and that “action was taken based on the findings” of the inquiries.

Workers insist that racial harassment and discrimination has been ongoing for years, and that investigations go nowhere, with perpetrators rarely punished. Plus, they allege that the abuse has gotten worse as the closing of the plant gets nearer.

Harley announced that it would close the Kansas City factory later this year and move its operations to Pennsylvania. The closing will eliminate 800 jobs in Kansas City.

If you need help in fighting workplace discrimination and harassment, contact a Milwaukee attorney experienced in employment litigation.

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