Besides words and phrases used to describe older workers, I also collect cases in which the N-word and/or nooses are used to create a hostile workplace to remind readers – and myself – that these cases have not ended, and that racism in the workplace has not ended.
The latest is a lawsuit filed by the EEOC which alleges that a black employee at a Texas company “reported that his coworkers had used a white hood – evocative of the type used by the Ku Klux Klan – to intimidate, ridicule and insult him.”
The company allegedly took swift action – it fired the black employee. That’s referred to as “retaliation,” and it’s illegal.
As I have posted before, the politically-roiling waters of the present American landscape is echoed – or paralleled – in the cases which come before the EEOC. The workplace is, after all, a microcosm of the real world.
The EEOC in December sued a North Carolina structural steel erection services company for a racially hostile work environment. Guess the nature of the allegations? It was alleged that as soon as the African American employee began working, his white foreman and some co-workers called him the “N-word” and other racial epithets on an almost daily basis, made racial jokes, and more than once physically threatened him.
Another case involving the N-word was filed by the EEOC last Fall.
Takeaway: I said years ago that “It is extraordinary that the ‘N-word’ and the noose keep reappearing in lawsuits claiming a racially harassing workplace.” And now its a KKK hood. Employers must be in the vanguard in ensuring that the workplace is a “level playing field,” as the law demands. No harassment, no slurs, no epithets — and no nooses or hoods. And certainly no retaliation against those complaining about these practices.