Even in 2021, racial harassment still persists in the workplace. In fiscal year 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received over 22,000 complaints of race discrimination and harassment, representing almost 33% of all charges. The EEOC has taken steps to help combat racial harassment and discrimination by filing lawsuits on behalf of employees. In one case, EEOC is suing Suisan Company, Limited, a food distributor on the Big Island of Hawaii, for creating a hostile work environment and terminating an employee who complained about it. According to the EEOC, supervisors at the company’s Hilo warehouse repeatedly used racial slurs involving the n-word and made racist references to slavery directed at an African American employee. That employee complained about the conduct, and in return was suspended and terminated the next day. In another case, the EEOC is suing Pennsylvania company Coastal Drilling East, LLC, alleging that an African American rig hand was handed a noose, there were open displays of nooses in the workplace on other occasions, racial epithets such as the n-word were used persistently, and a supervisor both tolerated and participated in some of the racial harassment. In a third case, the EEOC sued Pennsylvania-based Eureka Stone Quarry, Inc. and James D. Morrissey Inc. after, the EEOC alleges, an African American heavy equipment operator was subjected to racial harassment for years, including regular use of racial epithets such as the n-word and threats of violence directed at the Black Lives Matter movement, culminating in the equipment operator being threatened with firearms. According to the lawsuit, the companies were aware of the harassment but failed to take action to stop it, thereby forcing the equipment operator to resign. What this means to you: There is no place for racial slurs, threats, or other types of harassment in a respectful workplace. Help your managers reinforce your company’s values, properly handle complaints of harassment, and create and maintain a respectful workplace. To learn about our Harassment Prevention Training programs or to book a workshop, please call 800-458-2778 or email us. Updated 12-06-2021 Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.