In an apparent case of blatant racism in the workplace that harkens back to what should be a bygone era, two employees of a Pennsylvania wastewater treatment facility have accused their employer of racial discrimination and retaliation resulting in dangerous working conditions. They filed the suit after two incidents of finding a noose outside of the restroom area. Both men are African-American and say that the nooses were intended to intimidate them.
The local sewer authority and an electrical contractor are all named as defendants in the racial discrimination lawsuit. The city solicitor says that the incidents did not happen and that the city has already fully investigated the allegations.
The men say that after they filed a racial discrimination claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, they began to receive dangerous work assignments. Each of them has suffered from some injuries as a result.
The allegations are shocking. Racial discrimination can take on many different forms, but few expect that they will encounter such direct threatening behavior in the workplace. Employment attorneys say that it is rare to see a case of racial discrimination that is this blatant. The fact that it happened on city property makes it even more concerning, as does the city's denial of the incident. One city official is even going as far as to say that the lawsuit is meritless.
Racial discrimination claims are serious. Everyone deserves a safe and non-threatening work environment, with equal opportunity for job advancement and equal pay. Employees also deserve to have their concerns taken seriously, which is clearly not happening in this case. The lawsuit says that none of the defendants responded to complaints about the nooses when it was first brought to their attention.
Source: York Daily Record, "Racial discrimination in York city employee suit," Rick Lee, March 2, 2012.