Four workers were fired for displaying hanging nooses. They worked for FMC, an oil-field services equipment manufacturer.
Maryann Seaman, FMC spokeswoman:
Seaman said the incidents are especially troubling on the heels of an incident about a year ago in Jena, La., in which nooses were hung from a tree at a high school campus and racial tension erupted.
“It’s certainly sad,” said Yolanda Smith, executive director of the Houston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “It’s taken us back to the days of the 1950s and 1960s. We have to be more cognizant of diversity. Education is the key.”
In May, the EEOC reached a $390,000 racial harassment litigation settlement with Pemco Aeroplex of Birmingham on behalf of a class of black employees who were subjected to racist graffiti, slurs and the display of nooses, Ryan said.
The EEOC settled a racial harassment suit in January for $600,000 against AK Steel Corp. of Butler, Pa., Ryan added, after nooses were displayed and Klu Klux Klan videos were shown in employee lounges.
In March 2006, Ryan said, the EEOC obtained more than $1 million in a case against Commercial Coating Service, Inc. of Conroe, Texas, in which a black worker was racially harassed and choked with a noose by his coworkers in a company bathroom.