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Toshiba America Hit by Racial Bias Suit : Fair employment: Black computer operator claims company condoned a supervisor, also black, who let him go because he wasn't 'white enough.'

December 18, 1991|DEAN TAKAHASHI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

IRVINE — A black computer operator has filed a $5.25-million race discrimination lawsuit against Toshiba America Electronic Components and a temporary hiring agency, alleging that he was verbally abused by a Toshiba supervisor and denied a permanent job.

Dwight B. Slaughter, who operated a minicomputer system at the company between April and September, alleged that his supervisor, Jerry L. Stewart Sr., who is also black, verbally abused him and refused to hire Slaughter as a permanent employee because he was "not white enough," according to a suit filed Monday in Orange County Superior Court.

Robert S. Millman, outside attorney for the company, declined on Tuesday to comment. Stewart could not be reached for comment.

Slaughter also sued Toshiba America Electronic Components, a chip manufacturing subsidiary of Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp., for failing to curtail Stewart's alleged discriminatory behavior.

"I was called derogatory names, and Toshiba did nothing about it," Slaughter, a Downey resident, said in a phone interview. "They condoned it."

The suit also names Techco, a temporary employment agency in Encino that found the job for Slaughter, as a defendant for allegedly failing to assist Slaughter in his complaint. Techco officials could not be reached for comment.

Slaughter said the discriminatory behavior started when he started working for Toshiba April 28.

Although a director of the department recommended that he be hired permanently, Slaughter said that Stewart refused to hire him and that instead he was dismissed on Sept. 6.

"He said, 'I have a problem hiring black people,' " Slaughter said. "He called me names in front of everyone else. And he was a black man, too."

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