A Texas-based oil and gas company, operating in Tioga, N.D., violated civil rights law by subjecting an African-American employee to a hostile work environment based on his race, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed in North Dakota.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Derrick Jenkins worked for Murex Petroleum Corp. from April to September 2014 as a roustabout at its Tioga facility. During Jenkins’s employment, he was subjected to racial harassment by his white coworkers.
The abuse included the coworkers calling Jenkins racial slurs such as “spook,” “spade” and “Buckwheat.” They also made other racially derogatory comments, including the racially offensive term “n—-r-rigged,” the EEOC alleged. The harassment was witnessed by Jenkins’s supervisor, but no action was taken to stop it.
According to the lawsuit, another African-American employee complained to a high-level executive at the company, but no action was taken to stop or prevent the harassment in this case either.
This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from discrimination based on race, including racial harassment. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Murex Petroleum Corp., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00169-CSM after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.
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