After multiple positive meetings facilitated by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, ThyssenKrupp Elevator issued a public, face-to-face apology to Montrelle Reese, a former sales representative with the company who previously made accusations of racial discrimination. Representatives from the company also agreed to take disciplinary actions against supervisors and workers who acted inappropriately and agreed to take into account broader issues of diversity and inclusion, EEOC laws and contract compliance.
“Inappropriate, discriminatory harassment is not acceptable to us,” said Christian Koenig, president of ThyssenKrupp’s U.S. division. “I've offered my apologies to Montrelle Reese, his parents--and we will do everything to settle this matter and to reach out to him in the appropriate manner as soon as possible.”
Reese made allegations of abuse in early 2010 that prompted the Illinois Department of Human Rights to find substantial evidence of discrimination at ThyssenKrupp Elevator.
In a statement sent to the Chicago Sun-Times, Rich Hussey, president and CEO, ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corporation, admitted to some wrongdoing stating, “We have had to realize that mistakes were made, for example the use of epithets to describe a tool to service elevators or disparaging remarks about neighborhoods.”
The statement went on to say, “We look forward to the opportunity to meet with Mr. Reese and determine a resolution that is satisfactory to all involved. Similarly, we have already reached out to Rev. Jesse Jackson and are looking forward to discussing the matter with him.”
Koenig arrived from the Washington D.C. offices of the organization to investigate the matter.
“From all accounts, Mr. Koenig seems genuine in his sentiments to investigate the matter and change the culture within the company,” stated Rev. Jackson. “But with their apology there should also be compensation. ThyssenKrupp should now address issues of diversity within the company, hiring policies, contracts and procurements. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition will further investigate this matter. We have purchased stock in the company to have access to future shareholders meetings and plan to raise some more basic questions”
Despite the ugly allegations, Rev. Jackson said he still wants the company to follow through on its plans to move its regional offices to the city of Chicago.
“I hope the company does come to Chicago,” Rev. Jackson said. “We want the jobs, we want the opportunity, but we want the dignity.”
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization devoted to protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more, please visit http://www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366.