Five black women who were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train this summer have filed an $11 million racial discrimination lawsuit against the company.
The women, who are members of the Sistahs on the Reading Edge book club, said they suffered personal and professional consequences, with at least two of them claiming they lost their jobs because of the Aug. 22 incident.
“The goal of this lawsuit is to ensure that this sort of racial discrimination does not happen to anyone else,” civil rights attorney Waukeen McCoy said in a statement.
The group of 11 women, who boarded the train to celebrate a birthday and discuss a book, said they were repeatedly told to “quiet down” while other white passengers were ignored despite making as much noise, if not more, USA Today reported.
The women eventually were escorted through six cars and forced to exit the train in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena, where they were met by police officers. The lone white woman who accompanied them said during a news conference Thursday that the group was “signaled out” from the moment they arrived on the train.
A Napa spokesman said the company apologized to the group, promised to implement enhanced sensitivity training for management and staff and offered a free ride for the group, USA Today reported.