ExxonMobil sued after a Black employee allegedly discovered a noose at work

Mar 2, 2023, 5:09 PM
A view of the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., May 15, 2021. Pictur...
A view of the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., May 15, 2021. Picture taken May 15, 2021. (REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn)
(REUTERS/Kathleen Flynn)

(CNN) — Exxon was aware of multiple complaints of hangman’s nooses on display at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana, complex, but the oil company failed to properly investigate the incidents or take action to prevent them from happening again — which they did — according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC alleges that in January 2020, a Black employee at ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge chemical plant found a noose at his worksite and reported it to the company. At that time, Exxon was aware of three other nooses that had been displayed on the campus, which includes a chemical plant and a nearby refinery. The company failed to investigate each event and didn’t do enough to prevent further incidents, the EEOC alleges.

In December 2020, a fifth noose was reported at the complex.

“A noose is a longstanding symbol of violence associated with the lynching of African Americans,” said Elizabeth Owen, a senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, in a statement. “Such symbols are inherently threatening and significantly alter the workplace environment for Black Americans.”

The EEOC said Exxon violated the law because of its lack of proper action. The commission said Exxon created a racially hostile work environment for employees.

“When employers become aware of racially offensive or threatening conduct in the workplace, they have a legal obligation to take prompt, remedial action aimed at stopping it,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office.

Todd Spitler, a spokesperson for ExxonMobil, said in a statement that the company disagrees with the EEOC’s findings.

“ExxonMobil promptly performed a thorough investigation of this claim, and there was no evidence to support allegations of discrimination,” he said.

Spitler said ExxonMobil has “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.”

“We encourage employees to report claims like this, and we thoroughly investigated,” he added. “The symbols of hate are unacceptable, offensive, and in violation of our corporate policies.”

In 2021, multiple nooses were discovered at the construction site of an Amazon fulfillment center in Windsor, Connecticut. The site had previously been shut down so that cameras and other safety precautions could be put in place, but an eighth noose was discovered even after the cameras were positioned.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

US District Judge Robert Pitman ruled that at least 12 books removed from public libraries must be ...

Judge orders books removed from Texas public libraries to be returned within 24 hours

A federal judge in Texas ruled that at least 12 books removed from public libraries by Llano County officials must be placed back onto shelves within 24 hours.
23 hours ago
(Top L-R): Staff Sgt. Taylor Mitchell, Staff Sgt. Joshua Gore, Sgt. Isaac Gayo, Sgt. David Solinas ...
Haley Britzky

US Army identifies nine soldiers killed in Black Hawk training accident

The US Army has identified the nine soldiers who were killed in a nighttime training accident on Wednesday evening.
23 hours ago
General Motors plans to phase out widely used Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technologies for futur...

GM plans to phase out Apple CarPlay in EVs, with Google’s help

General Motors plans to phase out widely used Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technologies that allow drivers to bypass a vehicle's infotainment system, shifting instead to built-in infotainment systems developed with Google for future electric vehicles.
23 hours ago
Homes damaged by a tornado are seen on March 31, 2023 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Tornados damaged hu...
Associated Press

At least 26 dead after tornadoes rake US Midwest, South

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency after the catastrophic storms that hit on Friday afternoon.
23 hours ago
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iow...
Associated Press

Trump indictment ends decades of perceived invincibility

Trump, who is the early frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is expected to turn himself in Tuesday. He faces charges including at least one felony offense related to hush money payments to women during his 2016 campaign.
2 days ago
This photo provided by the St. Petersburg, Fla., Police Department shows 2-year-old Taylen Mosley, ...
Associated Press

Search on for Florida toddler after mother found slain

Searchers combed the area around a Florida apartment complex Friday for a missing 2-year-old boy whose mother was found slain in their apartment, police said.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
ExxonMobil sued after a Black employee allegedly discovered a noose at work