3 Macomb County morgue employees fired amid allegations of racism and sexism


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Three employees at the Macomb County Medical Examiner’s office have been fired amid an investigation into claims of sexual harassment and racism.

A death investigator launched a complaint after an employee brought a cake decorated with a black penis to the office, a day after George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police. And it was not the first time male genitalia ended up in the office.

According to the complaint, penises were featured on screen savers, sticky notes, and printed images.

The cake was the final straw, the death investigator says.

"I was livid — furious actually," the employee tells the Free Press. "All these cities are on fire for the Black Lives Matter movement, and here's my staff eating a black penis cake as a joke? That really pushed me over the edge."

The July 18 complaint also alleges racism.

"There has been an ongoing hostile work environment within the Medical Examiner's Office since I have been here," the complaint states. "The office culture is tainted with racism toward people of color. This was not only ignored by managing personnel, but participated in by the supervising staff."

Employees also are accused of mocking Black family members who called about their loved ones’ deaths. At one point, when a Black family said it was having trouble identifying a body, a morgue worker suggested, “Show them a picture of his penis. Maybe they’ll recognize him by that.”

The death investigator says other employees also complained, but nothing was done to address the allegations.

The county and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are investigating.

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