What do you need to do to wave a large red flag in front of the EEOC? Well, for one you can tolerate or ignore, or worse condone, the use of the N-Word and nooses in the workplace. We, jaded as we are, who think that we have seen or heard it all, are still shocked when egregious racial claims of this type are filed. Indeed, we tend to write about each such case brought by the EEOC.
Now comes news that a North Carolina federal jury, “acting as the conscience of this community,” according to the EEOC, has just awarded $200,000 in compensatory and punitive damages against a trucking company on behalf of two former African-American truck drivers who were repeatedly subjected to such racist abuse.
One driver was repeatedly subjected to slurs by his supervisor and other employees such as "n—-r," "monkey" and "boy," was asked by a white co-worker if he wanted to be the "coon" in their "coon hunt," and had a co-worker come to him with a noose saying "This is for you. Do you want to hang from the family tree?"
The second driver claimed that the company’s general manager told him, when he was the only African-American employee, that he was the company’s "token black," told him “Don’t find a noose with your name on it," and spoke to him of having some of his "friends" visit the driver in the middle of the night.
On October 2, 2012, we quoted an EEOC attorney as stating: "Racial harassment too often continues to occur in today’s workplaces while employers intentionally look the other way. A case where the victim received death threats at his home, as we found here, is especially abhorrent and unacceptable. The EEOC will continue to fight against this illegal and uncivilized misconduct."
And on December 3, 2012 we asked, apropos another case: "Will employers eventually learn that these [acts and slurs] are offensive and discriminatory, and will lead to EEOC crackdowns and monetary awards?" We can now add to this list of sanctions jury awards of substantial punitive damages. There are enough meritless discrimination claims brought these days that bedevil employers — racism such as exhibited in this case cannot be tolerated.