The EEOC has just sued a major transportation and distribution services provider from New Jersey for harassment based on race and national origin under Title VII.
This comes after a week of many such racial harassment suits filed by the EEOC.
In this case the EEOC accused company management of using “racial language” such as “calling African-American employees ‘ass monkeys,’ making comments about blacks swinging through the trees, and describing African-Americans as lazy and dependent on the government. In addition, EEOC alleges, a stuffed monkey was displayed in the workplace and at times had cord or a rope tied around its neck or appeared to be hanging.”
Discerning readers will note that in this case the “N-word” was apparently not used, contradicting our recent observation that this word is seemingly always present in racial harassment cases. However, we noted long ago that nooses were often displayed in racial harassment cases — which is allegedly the case here. Bigots seem to gravitate to the same words and old racist symbols.
One EEOC attorney stated: “This kind of blatant, racially charged conduct – 50 years after the passage of Title VII – is an unfortunate reminder of why the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was and is so necessary. No employee should face such utterly unacceptable and patently offensive conduct when he or she comes to work. And it’s an outright violation of federal law — a violation which it is the EEOC’s mandate to remedy.”
According to another EEOC attorney, the company provided no training for its workforce or managers on their obligations under Title VII. “A complete absence of training on the duty to prevent harassment and discrimination is a recipe for disaster.”
This latter statement is important, since the EEOC apparently feels that with proper workforce training this case may not have arisen. Perhaps. But we do agree that lack of a proper policy and procedure manual, lack of training for all employees and managers, lack of an appropriately trained HR manager, and lack of a top down culture of zero tolerance of harassment of any sort is indeed a recipe for disaster.