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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Thursday it has charged Exxon Mobil Corp. with race discrimination for allegedly failing to react effectively to several cases of hangman’s nooses being displayed at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana, petrochemical complex.
Exxon Mobile denied the charge.
The EEOC said in its statement that a Black employee found a hangman’s noose in January 2020 and that at the time the company was aware that three other nooses had been displayed at the complex, which consists of a chemical plant and a refinery.
The EEOC alleges the company investigated some, but not all, of the prior incidents and did not take measures “reasonably calculated” to end the harassment.
The agency said a fifth noose was reported in December 2020.
Exxon Mobil’s “actions and omissions regarding the noose incidents created a racially hostile work environment,” the agency said in its statement.
The lawsuit charges the company with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The company said it “promptly performed a thorough investigation of this claim” and found no evidence to support allegations of discrimination.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace and have established multiple ways for employees, contractors, suppliers or customers to safely report incidents of this nature,” the company said, stating that employees are encouraged to report these incidents.
“All matters are investigated, and anyone found to have violated these standards or applicable laws are terminated.”