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Exxon Sued By U.S. After 5 Nooses Found At Louisiana Plant Over 4 Years

The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against oil giant Exxon Mobil after a Black employee at a Louisiana plant discovered a noose hanging in the building in 2020. It was one of several nooses found at the facility over the years.

The lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Thursday, alleges Exxon violated federal law by only investigating some incidents involving nooses at the Baton Rouge facility.

“A noose is a longstanding symbol of violence associated with the lynching of African Americans,” said Elizabeth Owen, an attorney with the EEOC in New Orleans. “Such symbols are inherently threatening and significantly alter the workplace environment for Black Americans.”

Milferd McGhee discovered the noose in January 2020 and reported it to his supervisor. McGhee, who had worked at the Exxon plant since 2010, was aware that three other nooses had been previously found at the plant since 2016, according to the lawsuit.

Exxon never found who left the nooses and “did not complete all the measures recommended in its investigative report to remedy the harassment,” the lawsuit said.

Later that year, in December 2020, a fifth noose was discovered at the same plant, the lawsuit alleges.

Exxon told CBS News in a statement that it disagrees with the lawsuit’s findings that it didn’t conduct a thorough investigation.

“We encourage employees to report claims like this, and we thoroughly investigated,” Exxon said. “The symbols of hate are unacceptable, offensive and in violation of our corporate policies.”