Biden Administration Sues Exxon Mobil After 'Noose' Is Found

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The Biden administration is suing Exxon Mobil after several “nooses” were found between 2016 and 2020 in a Louisiana-based plant.

According to the EEOC lawsuit (Fox News), the oil giant failed to take enough action in dealing with reports of nooses being found by black employees.

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In one January 2020 incident, a Black employee at the facility discovered a noose at his worksite and reported it to management. According to the lawsuit, the company was aware of three similar incidents at the facility in the last several years, with a fifth incident reportedly occurring in December 2020.

The EEOC claims that the company investigated some but not all the incidents and “failed to take measures reasonably calculated to end the harassment.”

“A noose is a long-standing symbol of violence associated with the lynching of African Americans. Such symbols are inherently threatening and significantly alter the workplace environment for Black Americans,” Elizabeth Owen, a senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s New Orleans field office, said in the release.

The lawsuit claims that the Exxon Mobil violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination in the workplace, with its lack of action to rectify the issue.

Reading the report, what sticks out to me the most is the lack of any substantiation that these were actually nooses. These refineries are massive active work sites with sometimes thousands of employees. Things are constantly being repaired, and that type of work often involves ropes. How does the EEOC know these “nooses” weren’t just ropes left hanging for other reasons?

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Further, what exactly was Exxon Mobil supposed to do? According to their response to the government’s filing, they investigated the incidents. If they couldn’t find anything to substantiate the idea that they were racist symbols, much less who was responsible, what action did they fail to take? It seems like the Biden administration is upset that Exxon Mobil didn’t do enough to stop the “harassment,” but what would doing enough even look like? We are talking about a piece of rope. It’s not like you can interrogate it.

The EEOC has a long history of abusing its power, and this falls right in line with that. It is a huge stretch to suggest Exxon Mobil’s behavior somehow amounted to endorsed racial discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Besides, there have been a lot of noose hoaxes over the last decade. Who could fault a company for not expending large amounts of investigative resources trying to track down who put a piece of rope somewhere?

In the end, this feels like an attempt to punish Exxon Mobil for reasons other than these “nooses.” The Biden administration is in an open war with the oil industry, and pursuing these petty lawsuits is a way to extract money from companies they are seeking to destroy. No one should want the federal government to have this kind of power over private industry, especially when the EEOC can and has used its power to punish far smaller operations than Exxon Mobil. Hopefully, a judge sees through this stupidity and tells the Biden administration to pound sand.

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