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NYC Convention Site Sued for $1B

June 23, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ A group of 50 current and former employees of the city’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is suing the facility for $1 billion over alleged discriminatory conduct.

The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, contends the center ``subjects its minority employees to a deplorable work environment rife with discrimination and hostility.″

It portrays the Manhattan convention center as a cesspool of graphic racial, religious and sexual slurs ``designed to deprive plaintiffs of their dignity and their humanity.″

Mike Eisgrau, a Javits spokesman, declined to comment ``since it’s in litigation now.″

Despite an employee pool that is evenly divided between whites and minorities, a high percentage of those chosen for a seniority list of people actually called to work are white, according to the lawsuit.

It alleged that a seniority list of 60 names included 50 whites, seven black men and three Hispanic men.

The workers allege that other violations and insults were repeatedly committed by a group of managers and foremen, all white men of Irish decent except for one Irish woman and one black man.

The lone black foreman was promoted to the position only after convention center managers became aware that a federal discrimination lawsuit was in the works, the lawsuit said.

The plaintiffs also said they were routinely subjected to derogatory racial slurs and sexually offensive innuendo and that racially oppressive, threatening graffiti _ including drawings of a black man being lynched and Nazi swastikas _ remains on bathroom walls for months, even years.

The Javits center is home to some of the city’s biggest events, including the annual New York International Auto Show.

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