Ryan Marshall, the CEO of PulteGroup, is in hot water once more when one of the plaintiffs in his case disclosed that he was harassed for reporting racist behavior within the company. Idus Hartsfield spoke up when a PulteGroup executive “openly waved” a noose in front of staff, including at least two Black employees, and warned them “not to hang themselves.”
“It was a frigid reminder, like getting dumped in a bucket of ice, like (seeing that) things are not progressing like you may have thought,” said Hartsfield, who added he was afraid to report the incident to human resources and worried he would be targeted, but “then it started eating away at me, I did start having like anxiety and it was a good period of time to filter through the different emotions that I had. I couldn’t sleep thinking about it and that’s what ultimately compelled me to go to HR.”
Hartsfield claims that after reporting the noose incident to human services, he was “written up for non-issues” until he was fired in May 2020. In his four years at the company, Hartsfield had never been written up.
PulteGroup issued a statement calling the claims “reprehensible,” but according to a second lawsuit, CEO Ryan Marshall not only knew about the “noose incident,” but also hushed it up and fired the black employees who blew the whistle.
“Ryan Marshall has fired just one of the players in the racist and discriminatory scheme our lawsuit made public,” said Richard Turnbow. “He also has not sent me or my fellow litigants an apology. We lost our employment because we were targeted, lynched, harassed, and terminated or chased from PulteGroup. The Atlanta office is a mess and it’s run by the CEO. The buck starts and stops with him.”
Turnbow is one of three Black former PulteGroup employees who have hired the highly regarded Zausmer Law Firm to pursue CEO Ryan Marshall and other named PulteGroup senior executives in a sweeping conspiracy to reward personal loyalty over merit and, in some cases, white employees over Black employees.
PulteGroup’s Jim Zeumer, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications, told Lansing CBS affiliate WLNS Channel 6: “Our company leadership is committed to ensuring an environment of inclusion where all people are respected and valued. What is depicted in the images is despicable and has no place in our company nor in our society. The allegations are not consistent with our values and corporate culture.”
CEO Ryan Marshall, under fire for his role in the racist “noose incident” at PulteGroup, released a statement acknowledging racism in the company.
“Marshall passed responsibility alleging an organized conspiracy against him or sought to downplay the racism by saying that one of the incidents, the ‘Noose Meeting,’ was in 2019,” said Turnbow. “Ryan Marshall doesn’t care about equality or diversity. His statement proves that much! Apologize and let us get on with our lives. Put an end to the legal games. We appreciate the thousands of messages over the internet and messages from our former colleagues at PulteGroup.”
The complaint is being prosecuted in Michigan under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, where PulteGroup was founded in 1950 and has its registered office. PulteGroup is a Fortune 500 publicly traded corporation that trades under the ticker symbol “PHM” on the New York Stock Exchange. PulteGroup is the country’s third-largest homebuilder.