Detroit construction worker sues LCA arena contractor for racism

- Harold Wilson describes himself as a union carpenter who can do it all.

But he says when he applied for a job at Hardman Construction to work on what is now the completed Little Caesars Arena.. He says he got resistance.

"After about three attempts I was finally hired after waiting and calling," Wilson said. 

Wilson says he was hired as a Welder in 2015, but the job only lasted two days. Wilson says on the second day a supervisor told him, this "would not be a minority job site." 

Fed up, Wilson says he turned to Attorney George Washington who filed a lawsuit against Hardman Construction.

"They are paying 30 percent of their payroll in fines because they don't have residents," said Washington. "He is a resident, he is skilled and they don't hire him for 2 months, and then he works one day and eight hours the next day.

Wilson's attorney says after the eight hours his client was told to get his stuff because he was fired.

FOX 2: "Why were you let go?"
 
"No reason," he said. 

Washington say his client's tenure was short  but he was constantly harassed in what they describe as "Mississippi-style" racism.

"You can't drink out of the same cooler and you can't put your lunch box where everyone else puts theirs and then someone runs over it," Washington said. "You add two and two together and you get racial discrimination." 

Fox 2 contacted the attorney representing Hardman Construction and were told in a statement by Hardman President and CEO Thomas Vincent:

"My client denies all allegations, but due to the pending litigation, we will not litigate this matter in the press. Rather, we will aggressively defend and litigate the matter in the appropriate venue, the trial court."

Wilson says filing a lawsuit and demanding equal representation at job sites has left him unemployed.

"I am seeking unemployment as I always do," he said.

Wilson says he hopes this lawsuit will help bring attention to racism in the construction industry so no else has to share his experience. 

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