A Black former Best Buy warehouse worker is suing the electronics retailer, alleging he was forced to work in an environment that favored Latinos, was subjected to racially disparaging names and was wrongfully fired after some televisions were broken during a loading accident.

Maurice Merritt’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was filed Wednesday and alleges breach of an express oral contract not to terminate employment without good cause; breach of an implied-in-fact contract not to terminate employment without good cause; negligent hiring, supervision and retention; wrongful termination; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and a violation of the state Labor Code.

The suit seeks unspecified damages. A Best Buy representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

Merritt was hired by Best Buy in October 2007 and worked in loss prevention and asset protection until June 2017, when he became a general warehouse worker in Compton, the suit states.

Merritt overheard some Latino employees call Black workers the “N-word,” “black monkeys,” “lazy” and “stupid” in Spanish, according to the suit. He also noticed that Latino employees “made it a point not to interact with the African-American employees,” the suit states.

When a Latino employee interacted with a Black employee, the Latino employee was shunned by other Latinos for doing so, according to the suit.

When Merritt complained to one of his managers about the work environment, she “laughed it off and said it wasn’t a big deal,” the suit states.

Despite his complaint, no changes were made and the work environment became worse as Latino employees forced him to unload trucks by himself, according to the suit.

In 2009, Merritt noticed that the store’s general manager favored Latino employees by promoting them faster than other workers like him, who had more seniority and better qualifications, the suit states.

In 2009 and 2010, Merritt complained at least seven times to his bosses that Latino employees received training and promotional opportunities that were denied to the plaintiff, according to the suit. The supervisors “apathetically” replied they would train Merritt, but nothing happened and the plaintiff “felt ignored and shunned,” the suit states.

From 2007-17, supervisors pressured Merritt to falsify documents to meet inspections by mystery shoppers, the suit states. Merritt objected, but nothing was done, the suit states.

According to the lawsuit, Merritt was loading a bin with televisions sorted by another employee in December 2017 when they fell and broke because they were not properly wrapped. He was fired the next month and says the incident involving the televisions was used as a justification, even though Latinos involved in worse accidents were not even reprimanded, the suit alleges.

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