Black Workers Victims of Hostile Work Environment at Minn. Company, EEOC Alleges

The election of Donald Trump as president may or may not have reflected a racial divide in our society, but it is clear that work of eradicating racial hostility in the workplace goes on.

Latest example: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced November 3  it has sued a construction company in Hugo, Minnesota, where it alleges African American employees were subjected to a hostile work environment because of their race.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, William Staple and Dion Pye worked for JL Schwieters Construction, Inc., located in Hugo, as carpenters between September 2012 and December 2013. Staple and Pye were both subjected to racial harassment during their employment by a white supervisor.

EEOC said the harassment included the supervisor making racially derogatory comments to Staple and Pye, including calling them “n—-r.” The supervisor told Staple and Pye that he had a gun, and made threats that he could “shoot a n—-r a mile away.” The supervisor made a noose out of electrical wire and threated to hang Staple and Pye, EEOC alleged. The harassment was witnessed by other supervisors, but no action was taken to stop it. According to EEOC’s lawsuit, Pye complained to another supervisor and the company’s safety director about the harassment, but no action was taken to stop or prevent the harassment.

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