09/06/2013 02:18 EDT | Updated 11/06/2013 05:12 EST

Leon's Manager Knew Of Lynching Comments


A former area supervisor for a Dartmouth Leon's store accused of racism testified Friday that he tried to resolve the issue.

David McLeod spoke in the company's defence at the human rights board of inquiry hearing for Garnetta Cromwell.

Cromwell worked at the Leon's store in Dartmouth from 2004 to 2008. McLeod was area supervisor during that time, but is now retired. Cromwell and McLeod were in a romantic relationship from 2006 until 2007 or 2008.

Cromwell, who is black, claims she suffered racial discrimination at work and quit as a result.

She alleges a Leon’s manager referred to her employee evaluation as a lynching.

McLeod said one manager did recall a joke about lynching made during one of Cromwell's performance evaluations.

But McLeod said Cromwell's racism allegations came as a surprise to him. "I don't know why to this day she didn't pick up the phone or come to me," he said.

No signs of racism, former manager says

McLeod said her resignation letter mentioned a racially inappropriate comment, but did not elaborate on the incident.

He said the company tried repeatedly to contact Cromwell to learn more and to resolve the issue. She never responded, he said.

The manager said Leon's then sent out internal questionnaires to managers and staff asking for any information about racially inappropriate comments or behaviour towards Cromwell.

The surveys aimed to uncover racial discrimination taking place in any part of the store's operations, he said.

Most surveys turned up nothing and many respondents expressed support for the management team, McLeod told the hearing. One revealed the name of the manager who knew of the lynching comment.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery 10 Major Crimes That Shocked America (SLIDESHOW) See Gallery