04/29/2011 01:56 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2011

KKK Graffiti, Swastikas Lead Workers At DB Schenker To File Discrimination Complaint

A group of employees at a suburban Chicago warehouse have filed a discrimination complaint over racist graffiti on the walls of their workplace.

The DB Schenker Company's warehouse in Joliet, Illinois is the target of the complaint, registered with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Thursday. Workers allege that management was notified of the pervasive graffiti, including numerous images of swastikas and the letters 'KKK,' but did not intervene.

They also allowed confederate flags to be placed near the warehouse entrance, ABC-7 reports. All of this adds up to a hostile work environment, the workers claim.

Angela McDonald, a black staffer who works the third shift at the warehouse, told the Chicago Tribune that she's been trying to be promoted at work for three years. But she believes that because of her complaints about the workplace, her applications for promotions haven't been considered at all.

NBC reports that the problem isn't limited to Schenker, a logistics company that manages the Joliet warehouse for Cadbury:

"We have found that 40 percent of persons in this industry complain of discrimination in the workplace," said Abe Mwaura of the advocacy group Warehouse Workers for Justice.

Christopher Williams, an attorney representing the workers, said he has seen an increase in complaints since the recession from employees of subcontractors because companies can often hide behind each other.

"What we see is employers trying to stretch out the employment relationship and remove themselves to protect themselves from liability, but as a matter of law that's not going to work for them," he said.

The EEOC now has 60 days to review the complaint. It can either press a case itself, or allow workers to file suit on their own.

Watch NBC Chicago's interviews with the workers:

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