Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nooses in the news in Houston

I just have to wonder what these people have displayed at home, if this is what they think is OK for work:

Four contract workers were banned from FMC Technologies after they hung nooses at one of the firm's Houston facilities, the company announced Tuesday.

The three men and one woman also were fired from their jobs with the contractors for FMC, an oil-field services equipment manufacturer, said Maryann Seaman, FMC spokeswoman.

"FMC has zero tolerance for workplace harassment," Seaman said.

Seaman said about a month ago an employee notified company officials that he had seen a noose hanging in the FMC's Gears Road facility.

Three workers were banned from FMC after they were discovered to have been involved in placing the noose, she said.

Last week, another noose was seen hanging in the same facility, Seaman said, and another person was banned from the firm because she was involved in placing that noose.

And on and on it goes. But hey, there's some good news:

The number of lawsuits the EEOC filed related to nooses has dropped steadily from 10 in 2001 to two so far this year, said James Ryan, EEOC spokesman.

The EEOC recently won settlements in three harassment cases related to nooses, including one in the Houston area, Ryan said.

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.

Read the comments from a few enlightened locals who just still don't see anything wrong with this sort of thing.

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