A RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION LAWSUIT has been filed against the nation's largest black-owned company, World Wide Technology (No. 1 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $2.1 billion in sales).
Former WWT employee Ernest Ryals, 34, claims that after he led dozens of co-workers in filing complaints of discrimination at the company's Austin, Texas, facility in January 2006, he was fired a year later for allegedly sexually harassing a female subordinate. He filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but it was dismissed for lack of direct evidence. However, in November, Ryals filed a lawsuit, seeking $3.5 million in damages. Though the company is black-owned, and Ryals is African American, he claims he was passed over for a supervisory position that was given to a white woman. Ryals says the lawsuit charges WWT's all-white Austin management with racial discrimination when promoting workers.