A black construction worker says his employers have failed to reprimand a white employee
who placed a hangman's noose around his neck at the company's headquarters in Fort Washington, Pa., according to a suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Paul Hall, of Philadelphia, seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Allied Construction Services, Inc. for racial discrimination and harassment, violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to the complaint, Hall, a laborer for the company, was loading a truck at Allied's headquarters in Fort Washington for a job at another site. After loading the equipment, Hall stepped inside the facility to grab a drink of water. When he came back outside, a co-worker, Jim Staab, was working on securing the equipment to the truck with straps.
The claim says that as Hall approached Staab to assist with the task, Staab pulled a rope fashioned into a noose out of his own truck and placed it around Hall's neck. Staab allegedly then asked, "What do you think about that?"
According to the complaint, after removing the noose, Staab continued to harass Hall and his African American co-worker, asking, "Why do you blacks always get upset over a noose? It's only a rope."
The plaintiff claims that Staab has a history of discriminatory behavior, including getting pulled over by police for having a noose hanging from his truck. Allied hired and kept Staab employed despite allegedly knowing about his previous behavior, and has made no actions to discipline or correct the latest incident.
Hall says that the lack of action by Allied has subjected to being treated less favorably than white employees, and he has suffered emotional injuries, anxiety and humiliation as a result.
The plaintiff is represented by Michael Bowman of Bowman & Partners in Philadelphia.
The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-05802-WY.