According to an EEOC attorney "It is unconscionable that in the 21st century anyone should have to work in a racially hostile environment riddled with highly offensive acts of intimidation simply to earn a decent living."

What happened? A newly-filed EEOC lawsuit accuses oil drilling companies in Texas of violating Title VII when supervisors and other employees subjected two African-American and a Hispanic worker to a severely racially hostile work environment, and also fired one discrimination victim in retaliation for complaining.

According to the EEOC, the racially hostile work environment consisted of the following”  

  • Two white supervisors on an oil rig where employees slept and worked called two black workers "n----rs," "black asses," and other racial slurs.  
  • The supervisors segregated the men's sleeping quarters.  
  • One supervisor tried to place a black worker's hand on the supervisor's private parts, saying "grab this, boy."  
  • Two black workers found hangman's nooses on their trucks, and despite reporting the incident to the supervisors, the company did nothing to investigate the matter.  
  • One of the men quit after a supervisor told him to carry out an unreasonably dangerous assignment or go home. The other worker felt compelled to quit after a supervisor stated during an employee meeting that "n----rs can pick more cotton than whites."  
  • On another oil rig a supervisor called a Hispanic worker a "n-----r" and a "n-----r lover" almost daily for dating a black woman, yelled out that he worked "like a wetback," and threatened repeatedly to "whip [his] ass with a 24 [-inch pipe wrench]." The worker was fired when he reported this to a company superintendant.  

A second EEOC attorney summed up this case by saying that "Despicable racial harassment like this has no place in the American workplace. It is an affront to our values of fair play and opportunity."