Ready Mix Reportedly Settles Race-Bias Claims That Included Noose Display

Ready Mix concrete discriminationA Southern supplier of concrete and cement products has reportedly agreed to pay $400,000 to seven black employees to settle federal charges that it discriminated against them by using racial epithets and displaying a noose at work sites in Alabama

Black males employed at a Ready Mix USA plant in the Montgomery area were subjected to derogatory racial language, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Tuesday. The language included name-calling and references to the Ku Klux Klan that were used by supervisors, the EEOC said in its statement announcing the settlement.

"Employees have a right to expect that harassment based on race will be kept out of the workplace," local EEOC district director Delner Franklin-Thomas said in the statement. "This case involved not only racist language, but a noose, a threatening symbol of cruelty that has no place in any American workplace."

Ready Mix denies that racial harassment occurred at its work sites, the EEOC noted.

In addition to the $400,000 payout, the settlement includes a two-year agreement requiring Ready Mix to implement a system for investigating racial harassment complaints. The company must also report certain complaints of harassment or retaliation to the EEOC for monitoring.

Discrimination and harassment based on race are violations of the Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964.

Ready Mix USA, which has plants in seven states in the Southeast, provides cement and concrete products for construction. The company was acquired last year by Mexico's Cemex for $350 million.

Complaints of racial discrimination against African Americans that includes racial epithets and displays of nooses aren't uncommon. During the last six years, the EEOC has settled 12 such complaints, including cases involving several companies in the construction trades, according to its website.

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