An oil services company in Louisiana now faces a civil rights lawsuit after roughly 230 current and former employees complained of discrimination.
According to the plaintiffs, Baton Rouge-based Turner Industries Group LLC forced them to work in facilities where they were subjected to racist graffiti, slurs and racial discrimination.
The workers said there have been complaints for over a decade concerning segregated bathrooms, unequal treatment, hanging nooses, and racial slurs in facilities in Texas and Louisiana. One woman complained of coming into work one day and seeing a stuffed protective suit with her name tag on it, hung from a noose. Another described how the facility at which she had worked segregated employees by race and sent the black workers home to be replaced by white workers. The complaints says that the discrimination grew worse after the election of President Obama.
The workers complain that the company did very little if anything to deal with the complaints. In some cases, they say, the company retaliated against complaining employees.
Last April, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission conducted an investigation and found that black employee as a Turner plan in Paris, Texas had been subjected to discrimination, intimidation and slurs, and were given lower paying positions and denied promotions. They also found that company supervisors had been aware of the hostile work environment but did nothing to address it. At the time, Turner disagreed with the findings, saying that it had asked for company-wide compliance with its anti-harassment policy.
An attorney for the workers said the suit was filed because the company failed to adequately respond to the findings of the EEOC investigation.
Turner said in a statement responding to the current lawsuit that many of the plaintiffs no longer work with the company and that some of the never did. They also say that many of those joining in the complaint never reported any misbehavior to the company. Turner's CEO said that its policies work for diversity and inclusiveness for all workers.
The suit was filed earlier this week in a Texas federal court.
Source: ABC News, "Suit Claims Discrimination at Oil Services Company," Melinda Deslatte, 1 Feb 2011.