Montana Public Radio

Kalispell Company Accused Of Mishandling Complaints Of Racism

Apr 27, 2017

The Montana Human Rights Bureau has found a Kalispell company retaliated against an African-American employee who complained about multiple racist remarks made in the workplace.

TeleTech Services Corp. is accused of mishandling complaints of racism made by former employee Kiondra Bullock.

Nate McConnell, Kiondra Bullock's attorney
Credit Montana Legislature

Nate McConnell, her attorney, says within a month of Bullock’s hiring:

“Someone made a very offensive racist statement to her. Something to the effect of, ‘is it true black people can’t swim?'” he says.

McConnell says that remark wasn’t isolated. In April 2016, he says, Bullock was speaking with a colleague about a large piece of land that colleague rented.

“Kay said, ‘I’m sure my grandkids would love to come over and play.’ And a person standing near them said, ‘yeah, we could call it a plantation, and your grandkids could be the first slaves.' It’s offensive to the nth degree. That’s just something Montana can’t tolerate," he says.

Bullock was written up for yelling at the co-worker who made the remark. The co-worker, Alex Goodnight, was never punished.

Bureau Investigator Tam Newby spoke to Goodnight, who said he never apologized because the company decided he "did nothing wrong."

A TeleTech spokesperson said Wednesday the company “does not comment on legal matters, so we have no comment at this time.”

A contested hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings is forthcoming.