Springfield Navistar worker files complaint alleging harassment

A Springfield Navistar employee has filed a lawsuit in Clark County Common Pleas Court alleging he was harassed and bullied on the job.

Court documents show Edward Miller filed the complaint late last month, alleging he suffered emotional and physical distress, lost wages and income, and mental anguish after he allegedly was discriminated against due to his race.

Navistar hasn’t filed a response to the complaint and company officials didn’t return a call or email seeking comment Friday.

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According to the complaint, Miller, who is African American, began working at Navistar’s Springfield plant in 1994. The lawsuit alleges he was harassed by nine co-workers beginning in 2012 and that they allegedly tried to force him out of his department. The complaint alleges one of the co-workers also used a racial slur.

Miller claims he complained to supervisors but the alleged harassment intensified, the lawsuit says, and he filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and contacted the NAACP. He took disability leave as a result of stress in 2015 and the suit alleges the harassment continued when he returned.

Miller continues to work for Navistar, said Erica Probst, his attorney in the case. She declined to provide further details about the alleged harassment.

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Probst said her client received a notice of suit rights from the EEOC that entitled him to file a lawsuit in federal court. However, by the time Miller arrived at her office, the statute of limitations allowing him to file in federal court had passed, she said.

Kimberly Smith-Brown, a spokeswoman for the EEOC, said the agency is prohibited from either confirming or denying the existence of a discrimination filing or investigation.

“Information about specific cases only becomes public if and when EEOC files a lawsuit — which is usually a last resort,” Smith-Brown said.

Denise Williams, president of the Springfield Unit of the NAACP, confirmed Miller contacted the organization but she declined to discuss the case further.

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The lawsuit seeks an undisclosed amount of damages, including attorney fees, back pay, reinstatement, and several other damages.

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