RockTenn Services Company, Inc., a manufacturing company based in Atlanta, has agreed to pay $500,000 to 14 employees to settle an EEOC racially hostile work environment lawsuit.
The EEOC had accused RockTenn of subjecting a class of African-American employees to race discrimination and harassment that included violent and racist graffiti such as: “KKK,” swastikas, Confederate flags, “white power” and other racist terms, including “die, n—-r, die.”
RockTenn employees also saw hangman’s nooses displayed at its Dallas paper mill. Several employees were referred to by racist slurs including “n—-r.” Michael Scott, who filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC, was a called a “n—-r” by his supervisor. Scott later discovered a noose at his work station.
RockTenn officials allegedly ignored the complaints of racist graffiti even after it was reported to management on multiple occasions, including during monthly labor-management meetings.
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark said, “Racism in any form is bad enough, but racist graffiti that included Confederate flags and death wishes accompanied by vile racist epithets go far beyond the pale even of prejudice. Terms like ‘KKK’ evoke violent and threatening attitudes towards African-Americans. RockTenn should have immediately responded to the reports of racist graffiti instead of permitting their employees to work in an atmosphere full of these menacing, racist taunts.”