NORTHLAKE, Ill. — A Chicago man said his employer allowed a racist figurine to be displayed in a warehouse where he works in Northlake.
Throughout the country, there has been a movement to take down Confederate monuments across the country. Stores have stopped selling Confederate flags.
The warehouse worker, Fredrick Smith, spoke to WGN and said he wants know why he was expected to work alongside those symbols at his job. He said he had to walk by the Confederate figurine every day at work at the HD Supply Warehouse.
"It was a skull head with the Confederate soldier uniform and the Confederate flag was at the base," he said.
For Smith, it wasn’t just the figurine he found offensive but that it was never removed from the desk it was on months after he told his boss. He said to him, it signified the discrimination during Jim Crow laws.
HD Supply is one of the nations largest distributors of industrial supply products — it's a brand that can be found at Home Depot
Smith filed an EEOC complaint against the company in July.
"At any job everybody’s rights should be respected equally regardless of what color they are," Smith said.
He said HD Supply recently offered to pay him $10,000 if he resigns, but he declined. It said it felt like they were trying to sweep it under the rug and ignore the situation. He said it wasn't about the money, but about respect.
"It's a disrespect. My great grandma, her mother, these were people who were like slaves to a certain degree," he said. "I don’t want to be reminded of it.”
Smith said the statue disappeared in July soon after he filed his EEOC complaint. WGN reached out to HD Supply but has not heard back.