Nooses and Racial Slurs Increase In Workplaces: New SF Incident Reported

It didn’t take long since my last post, and Amy’s – last week – for another workplace incident involving nooses to be reported.

Today’s New York Times reports that three African-American construction workers in San Francisco claim that they were subjected to “racial slurs and death threats, including black dolls hanging from nooses in the bathroom.”

Their complaints to the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment alleged that “they were repeatedly harassed and discriminated against by co-workers, including a threat with a knife, as part of a concerted campaign to drive them off the project.”

One employee alleged that “co-workers told him to enter a sixth-floor bathroom, where he saw words using a racial slur that encouraged the killing of African-Americans.”  A second alleged that “he found two black dolls hanging by nooses in a bathroom with references to killing him and [another employee].”  The third alleged that “after he started working on the site in February, he saw a [co-worker] carrying a noose.”

To its credit, the employer said that it “would install signs on the project site — reading ‘Give Respect. Get Respect.’ — as a reminder to workers that they are entitled to a ‘safe and peaceful work environment.’”    Is that sufficient??

The Times reported that the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law noted that race-based discrimination and harassment have increased in recent years: “It aligns with a significant increase in hate crimes and racially motivated hate activity across the country.”

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]