Clinton Tucker, a former online sales manager for Benjamin Moore Paints in New Jersey, has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was terminated for complaining about the names of two colors from the company’s new line of paints: ”Clinton Brown” and ”Tucker Chocolate.”
“Being a black man named Clinton Tucker, the plaintiff found this to be extremely racially offensive” and “when this was mentioned at a meeting with at least eight people including his supervisor, this was met with awkward silence,” the lawsuit reads.
Tucker says that a co-worker initially pointed out the similarities in the names, and thought it was funny.
The company already had a color called “Clinton Brown,” but the introduction of Tucker Chocolate alongside it “was racially offensive and demeaning to Clinton Tucker,” the suit alleges.
In a meeting in which employees were asked about their favorite BM colors, Tucker says he turned to a supervisor and said, “Well, you know my least favorite colors.”
A colleague spoke up, saying, “If you think that’s bad, what about Confederate Red?”
The former sales manager added that the company has a “toxic” work environment that is hostile to minorities. Tucker claims that the company repeatedly passed him over for promotion while promoting his white coworkers, and that this culture of racial bias even extends to the company ignoring an e-mail requesting the day off to celebrate Martin Lither King Jr. Day.
“This request was ignored and [the director of digital marketing], just mockingly smirked at the plaintiff on Martin Luther King holiday,” according to the suit. Following that incident, Tucker says he was demoted and given fewer responsibilities, before ultimately facing what Tucker says is unlawful termination in March 2014.
Tucker is seeking damages for discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment.