EEOC Files Lawsuit Against ExxonMobil for Alleged Race Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment

ExxonMobil is facing a lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over allegations of race discrimination and creating a hostile work environment after five nooses were found at its Baton Rouge facility over a four-year period.[0]

According to the EEOC, in January 2020, a Black employee at the chemical plant found a hangman’s noose at a worksite and reported it to the company.[1] Exxon was cognizant of three additional nooses hung up on the campus, which included a chemical plant and a refinery close by, at that time.[2] The agency accused the company of failing to take effective measures to prevent the display of the nooses and creating a racially hostile work environment.

ExxonMobil denied the accusation, with spokesperson Todd Spitler saying in a statement that the company disagrees with the EEOC’s findings and allegations.[3] He added that the company has a “zero-tolerance policy for any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace” and that it has established multiple ways for employees, contractors, suppliers, or customers to safely report incidents of this nature.[4]

Elizabeth Owen, a senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, stated, “A noose is a longstanding symbol of violence associated with the lynching of African Americans. Such symbols are inherently threatening and significantly alter the workplace environment for Black Americans.”[5]

Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Houston District Office, added, “When employers become aware of racially offensive or threatening conduct in the workplace, they have a legal obligation to take prompt, remedial action aimed at stopping it.”

Michael Kirkland, director of the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, emphasized the importance of addressing these issues, saying, “Even isolated displays of racially threatening symbols are unacceptable in American workplaces.”

The EEOC filed the lawsuit after a failed attempt by the government to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency is accusing Exxon of engaging in unlawful employment practices in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[6]

The case comes as the company struggles to retain talent, with many workers who departed the company alleging its culture was toxic.[6]

0. “Feds suing ExxonMobil over nooses at Baton Rouge complex, agency says; company pushes back” The Advocate, 2 Mar. 2023,

1. “ExxonMobil Sued Over Hangman's Noose Display at Louisiana Plant” Bloomberg Law, 2 Mar. 2023,

2. “Exxon Mobil Sued for Race Discrimination” Insurance Journal, 3 Mar. 2023,

3. “ExxonMobil sued after a Black employee allegedly discovered a noose at work. It was the fifth at the same facility” WICZ, 3 Mar. 2023,

4. “ExxonMobil sued by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over alleged race discrimination”, 2 Mar. 2023,

5. “ExxonMobil faces racial discrimination lawsuit” WAFB, 3 Mar. 2023,

6. “Exxon Sued by US After Five Nooses Found at Louisiana Plant” BNN Bloomberg, 3 Mar. 2023,

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments