Breaking Brown

October 1, 2015

“Thank You…for Picking All That Cotton”: EEOC Sues Hotel Over Alleged Racial Harassment of Employees

“Thank You…for Picking All That Cotton”: EEOC Sues Hotel Over Alleged Racial Harassment of Employees

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the management company that operates a Marriott Hotel for failing to stop racial comments made to black employees.

John Q. Hammons Hotel Management violated federal civil rights laws by failing to stop a pattern of offensive racial comments and conduct directed at black employees at a Normal, Ill., Marriott Hotel that the company operates, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today,” read a Wednesday press release.

According to the EEOC, an investigation revealed that black employees were called racial slurs and subjected to comments about slavery and other inflammatory language.

One black employee was reportedly told, “Thank you for your contribution to America for picking all that cotton.” 

“Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination (including harassment) on the basis of race.  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process,” the EEOC writes.

“As soon as an employer becomes aware of any kind of discriminatory harassment in the workplace, the employer must act – and must act promptly,” said John Hendrickson, EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago.  “That is the law, and the EEOC will hold employers accountable if they if they don’t live up to that responsibility.”


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