Lawsuit alleges black tradesmen subjected to attempted noose snaring

Aug 5 '20 | By Ray

Ravena, NY – A federal lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleges that black tradesmen were subjected to harsh racial discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and an attempted noose snaring at the Lafarge Ravena Cement Plant by the Texas subcontractor CCC Group while the plant was undergoing a $300 million multiyear upgrade. 

These vicious racially based attacks continuously occurred over a nine-week period without intervention, according to the black tradesmen mentioned in the suit

The lawsuit filed in U.S. district court contends the following -

CCC Group, Inc., violated federal law when it fostered a work environment rife with racist comments and discriminatory work conditions, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed.

The San Antonio, Texas-based construction company operated a construction site in Ravena, N.Y., in 2016. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, white supervisors and employees regularly made unwelcome racist comments, used racial slurs, threatened black employees with nooses, and subjected African American employees to harsher working conditions than white co-workers.

The EEOC charges that white employees frequently referred to black employees with insulting racial epithets. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, some of this harassment occurred on a company radio channel for all to hear. White employees bragged that their ancestors had owned slaves and told a black employee he walked funny because slaves used to walk with a bag on their shoulder picking cotton.

Further, one white supervisor attempted to snare an employee with a noose, the EEOC said. Another Caucasian supervisor told an African American employee that for Halloween, “You don’t even have to dress up. I will dress in white and put a noose around your neck and we’ll walk down the street together.”

The EEOC further charges that African American employees were given more physically taxing and dangerous work than Caucasian counterparts, including being assigned outdoor work in winter while white colleagues worked inside. Black employees objected to and complained about the racial harassment, but it persisted, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race. Race harassment is a form of race discrimination that is prohibited by the statute.

The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the agency’s conciliation process. The EEOC seeks compensatory damages and punitive damages for the affected employees, and injunctive relief to remedy and prevent future workplace racial harassment.

“Employers need to proactively prevent any behavior that creates a racially hostile workplace,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office. “Here there were numerous examples of abho­rrent racial discrimination and harassment. The use of a noose is especially vicious. Such misconduct violates federal law and common decency.”

Judy Keenan, acting director of the New York District Office, added, “Racial harassment is never acceptable. This harassment was especially vicious, widespread and continuous, and the employer failed to do anything to stop it.”

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. The agency’s Buffalo Local Office conducted the investigation resulting in this lawsuit.

Lafarge Company who was contracted as the general contractor on the project, issued the following statement, “We find the allegations against CCC contracting  to be very concerning. Lafarge and its parent company, LafargeHolcim, take all claims of discrimination of any kind very seriously. We follow a business code of conduct and investigate and take action on all complaints that are brought to our attention.”

According to the Mayor of Ravena, William Misuraca, “If the allegations are true, they have no place in our community. If true, I hope there are appropriate sanctions. We don’t welcome companies like that to our area.


No comments
You need to sign in to comment

Related Articles