Former Employee Sues Basic American Foods for Alleged Racial Discrimination

On Wednesday, Michael Do filed a complaint in the District of Idaho against Basic American Inc. for alleged racial discrimination and termination after several racially motivated incidents took place.

Towards the end of 2019, the plaintiff was reported for alleged sexual harrassment against a white female co-worker after grabbing her hand while he slipped. He claimed that Basic American Foods (BAF) “took the word of a white employee over the denial of [Mr. Do], an individual of Vietnamese origin.” After refusing to sign an acknowledgement form, he was terminated, the complaint said.

Other incidents allegedly occurred at the workplace where the plaintiff felt he was treated unfairly. Shortly before the aforementioned incident, the complaint says he reported what appeared to be a male coworker sexually harrassing a female coworker, but “while not denying that the incident had occurred, the representative told [Mr. Do] that he could not have witnessed it and accused him of filing a false allegation against a coworker.” He was later reprimanded for filing a “false accusation.” Earlier that year, the plaintiff was allegedly singled out for playing a game with coworkers and accused of harassment, despite no one else being implicated for the same actions.

Finally, the plaintiff recounted that he was suspended without pay for one month after using vacation time but not receiving a doctor’s note for his absence, and believed that he was held “to an unrealistic standard that he should be able to receive notice from work while on vacation abroad.” Thus he is suing on the counts of being discharged from employment, suspended without pay, being in a hostile work environment on the basis of race/national origin, as well as wrongful termination in contravention of public policy under Idaho law.

The plaintiff is seeking $65,000 in back pay for the months he was suspended without pay, compensatory damages in the amount of $130,000 for the pain and emotional distress he suffered, punitive damages in the amount of $50,000 for the defendants’ reckless indifference, other damages for loss of wages, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Barton Atkinson & Murdoch, P.C.