MINNEAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit Nov. 3 against JL Schwieters Construction Inc. of Hugo, Minnesota, over allegations of subjecting African-American employees to a hostile work environment based on their race.


EEOC claims that William Staple and Dion Pye worked for JL Schwieters Construction Inc. as carpenters between September 2012 and December 2013. The two employees were purportedly subjected to racial harassment by a white supervisor. The discrimination allegedly included derogatory comments. The supervisor purportedly threatened to hang Staple and Pye.


According to EEOC, other supervisors witnessed the harassment but did not take action to stop it. Alleged conduct of this nature violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC seeks compensatory damage and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.


“Racial discrimination and harassment are always unconscionable and illegal, but a situation where African-Americans are called racial slurs and threatened with a noose and gun is utterly shocking and unacceptable in the 21st century,” said John Hendrickson, regional attorney for EEOC's Chicago District. “EEOC will vigorously fight to stop such severe and cruel practices in any workplace.”

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