Iowa, a state named after Native Americans, has just produced one of the more troubling stories to come out of the national cancer known as the “Trump Effect.” Thirty-two year old mother of one, Alexandra Avila, has filed a suit against her former employer — Sedgwick Claims Management Services — alleging that she was the victim of racially motivated harassment from her co-workers. According to the Washington Post, Alexandra’s coworkers bullied her over a period of several months, using the kind of anti-immigrant rhetoric Donald Trump has promoted during his run for the presidency.
Though Alexandra isn’t an immigrant, that didn’t stop her co-workers from ridiculing her.
— m. e. nash (@m_e_nash) October 27, 2016
Credit: M_E_Nash / Twitter
The list of harassment Alexandra allegedly faced at the hands of her coworkers is infuriating.
According to the lawsuit, Alexandra’s troubles began shortly after she expressed anger over Trump’s “rapists and criminals” remark. In the months following, her coworkers basically did everything they could to demean and belittle her, the lawsuit claims. She was called “illegal immigrant,” even though she was born in the U.S. The screensaver photo of her daughter was replaced with a photo of Trump, and when she switched it back, her coworkers just did it again and again. She was signed up for Trump’s newsletters.
Alexandra’s coworkers sent her offensive memes like this and the one above.
When Alex complained to higher-ups, the company accused her of falsifying her timecards. Eventually she was fired, but that didn’t stop her coworkers from continuing their harassment. She received a Facebook invite to a Trump rally, allegedly sent by a former coworker. And a box of her belongings — which she had left at work — arrived in the mail with this message inside: “Illegal immigrants can’t vote or work. Good luck finding a job.”
So far Alexandra’s former employer, Sedgwick, has declined to comment.
Though her former employer has not released a statement, Alexandra’s lawyer, Paige Fiedler told the Washington Post:
“It’s been a weird political season where one candidate is taking public stances on things that, if the same words were said in the workplace, might constitute violations of our civil rights laws. His candidacy has emboldened some people to feel like that doesn’t violate social norms anymore.”
Alexandra’s harassment isn’t rare, sadly. The #TrumpEffect reveals how frightened people are of this movement towards racism masquerading as the cure to political correctness.
— Tina Issa ?? (@tinaissa) November 2, 2016
CREDIT: TINAISSA / TWITTER
Every day, people post tweets like these, highlighting the devastating effects of the #TrumpEffect.
"He said, 'Mom, they put a noose around my neck and they pulled it tight and it choked me.’" https://t.co/JIKfPQz1i1
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 28, 2016
CREDIT: WASHINGTONPOST / TWITTER
The roots of the “Trump Effect” have found fertile soil in the hearts of impressionable bullies emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric, making harassment like the kind Alexandra allegedly faced increasingly common. And though many people claim that immigration isn’t a problem if it’s done legally, for the most part, people who are willing to hurl slurs in the street don’t care about the nuances of legal immigration. These people see brown skin the way a bull sees red. And legal immigrants often find themselves in the crosshairs of hateful people who are only capable of quoting bumper stickers and posting glib comments on message boards that undermine real conversations about the topic at hand. This kind of hate isn’t immigration’s fault, and it wasn’t Alexandra’s.