Paint Company Sued for Racial Discrimination After It ‘Named Brown Hues After Black Employee’

Joshua Gardner, Daily Mail (London), June 30, 2014

A black New Jersey man is suing his former employer Benjamin Moore for discrimination after he says the paint company named two brown paint tones after him.

Clinton Tucker’s suit claims he was given the boot in March after he repeatedly complained about the colors Tucker Chocolate and Clinton Brown.

Tucker alleges one of the colors was a part of the company’s Williamsburg Collection, a project he helped market.

‘Despite [Tucker’s] repeated complaints and protestations to BM management about these appallingly racial color names, no action was ever taken by Benjamin Moore to change the names of these colors,’ reads the suit.

The color remained on the Benjamin Moore website as of Sunday, where its description suggests the name has its origin in Colonial Williamsburg.

‘Capturing the 1798 color requested by St. George Tucker for his home facing Courthouse Green, this deep brown is classic and understated,’ reads the site.

Regardless of its purported beginnings, ‘being a black man named Clinton Tucker, the plaintiff found this [color name] to be extremely racially offensive’

What’s more, ‘when this was mentioned at a meeting with at least eight people including his supervisor, this was met with awkward silence.’

It was part of what the plaintiff is claiming was a culture of racial insensitivity and even outright aversion.

‘In addition, BM has a color called Clinton Brown,’ reads the suit. ‘A BM employee pointed this out to the plaintiff and thought it was funny.’

The suit notes that Benjamin Moore also has a paint color called Confederate Red ‘offensively described by Benjamin [Moore] as a “timeless and enduring classic.”‘

Tucker believes that he was denied opportunities to advance because of his race ‘despite spending countless hours in the office’ and that his ‘two white, blonde-haired and blue-eyed subordinates’ remained at the company after his termination.

Tucker is seeking damages for discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment.

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