Brooklyn, NY - Black School Bus Driver Sues Borough Park Satmar School Over Slurs, Owed Back Pay

Published on: June 2nd, 2015 at 02:04 PM

Brooklyn, NY – An African-American school bus driver is suing the United Talmudical Academy of Boro Park for $2 million for discrimination for being called, “monkey friend” and “blackie” while on the job.

Willis Baker, 56, filed a lawsuit against the ultra-Orthodox Jewish school and Yanke Shaefer, who hired him, reports Newsweek (http://bit.ly/1FrORu8 ). Baker stats in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, that while working for the school from July to December 2014, Yanke would call him his “monkey friend” in front of others, and that students would call him “blackie,” monkey” and “stupid.”

The suit also states the children on the bus would throw candy, spit balls, paper and hard objects at Baker, but none of the teachers on the bus would stop them.

Baker also alleges that he was denied back wages and overtime pay, and that he was the only employee ordered to clean and service buses.

The suit alleges that baker worked 13 hours a day, Sundays through Thursdays, and seven and a half hours on Fridays, for a total of 72.5 hours per week, but that he received a flat salary of $600 per week from July to August and a flat rate of $850 from September through December.

Baker states that when he asked about the wages and being called “monkey friend,” Shaefer told him he should “shut up and appreciate the fact that [he had] a job in the first place.”

The suit claims that Shaefer then assigned Baker an additional bus route, upping his weekly hours to 82.5, and that Baker was docked pay for an alleged Aug. 5, 2014 car accident that Baker said never happened.

Baker says a Dec. 5, 2014 accident led to his termination after a car scraped the bus while turning. Baker said the accident wasn’t his fault, but that Shaefer said he was going to dock his pay. When Baker said he couldn’t afford to lose pay and that he still needed back pay and overtime, he was fired, according to the lawsuit.

Schaefer and the school deny all allegations of employment discrimination, and says that Willis had at least five accidents with his bus.

Information taken from Newsweek


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