Friday, August 28, 2009

LEGAL BRIEF: Black Employees Subjected to Racist Slurs, Graffiti, and Nooses!

The Legal Brief gives everyone an idea of some of the types of cases that EEOC litigates, provides information on anti-discrimination legal proceedings/court rulings, and identifies some of the specific race-based issues that other Blacks have faced and challenged in the workplace. The Legal Brief also provides insight into the arguments presented by EEOC and the defenses offered by employers. This information may be helpful to workers, who may be considering filing a complaint or seeking legal counsel, as well as to employees who feel they are becoming embroiled in race-related issues at work.

In this legal brief a manufacturer of custom modular home is being sued by the EEOC for racial harassment of Black workers, incluing racist slurs, graffiti, and nooses being used. For more details, see below:


GREENSBORO, N.C. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed alleging that Professional Building Systems of North Carolina, LLC, violated federal law by subjecting African American employees to a racially hostile work environment. Professional Building Systems builds custom modular homes in two locations including at its facilities in Middleburg, Pa., and Mount Gilead, N.C., where the racial harassment occurred.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, from around July 2005 to around early 2008, black employees were subjected to egregious racial harassment while employed at Professional Building Systems. African American employees were subjected to racist abuse, which included nooses and racially offensive drawings that depicted blacks and the Ku Klux Klan. Black employees were also subjected to racial slurs, including use of the racial epithet “n----r.” Most of the harassment was perpetrated by one of the managers of the Mount Gilead facility.

Although the employees complained about the racial harassment, the EEOC said, Professional Building Systems failed to take action to stop or prevent further harassment. The agency brought suit on behalf of Efird Cato, Albert Davis, Torrence Funderburk, Scottie O’Nell Green, Rodney Medley, and Michael Scott, who filed charges of discrimination with the EEOC, as well as a group of similarly situated black employees.

Racial harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Civil Action No. 1:09-cv-00617) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with the company. The agency seeks compensatory and punitive damages for all aggrieved employees, as well as injunctive relief.

“Although the EEOC has made marked progress under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act toward eliminating racial harassment and discrimination in the workplace, cases like this serve as painful reminders that severe racist behavior still exists,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney of the agency’s Charlotte District. “This agency will continue to carry out its mission to eliminate discrimination in the workplace, and to ensure that employers who condone racial harassment make amends to aggrieved employees.”

Tina Burnside, supervisory trial attorney in the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, added, “Employees should not have to be subjected to racial slurs, racial graffiti and nooses. In particular, a noose is a historic symbol of racial terror used to intimidate blacks, and cannot be tolerated in the workplace.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received an email from a coworker on the company server that shows an African American boy in a diaper with the caption "It's Friday n-----rs". And another with the same picture that says "It's Friday B---tch's. Shortly afterwards I went into a severe depression. When I was unable to return to work, my employer terminated me. The sender of the email was only suspended for a day or two. I am still out of work due to mental disability caused by the horrific image. It is clear that some employers still don't take racism seriously.

6:44 AM  

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