EXCEL USA Engages in Retaliatory Discharge Against Victim of Racially Hostile Work Environment according to lawsuit: WELDON MOORE v. EXCEL CONTRACTORS, LLC, d/b/a EXCEL USA, 3:21-cv-00698-JWD-RLB

Friedman & Houlding LLP represents Weldon Moore, an African American truck driver who worked at EXCEL USA in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As alleged in the Amended Complaint the Superintendent of EXCEL’s operations at Louisiana Pigment plant in Lake Charles racially harassed Mr. Moore, often calling him and other African American employees “Black motherf*****”, telling Mr. Moore that he wished he could call his African American coworker the “N” word, and repeating a disgusting “joke”: “Mo, if a Black man and a Mexican man fell off a high-rise building, who do you think would hit the ground first?” When Mr. Moore (known as “Mo”), replied out of shock, “I don’t know, boss,” the Superintendent laughed and said, “Who gives a f***?

As alleged in the Amended Complaint Mr. Moore complained first to Human Resources, in the presence of the EXCEL Louisiana Pigment plant project manager. The Human Resources representative said that she would keep his complaint on file. But neither Human Resources nor the EXCEL project manager engaged in any follow-up inquiries. The racial harassment not only continued, but Mr. Moore’s complaint to HR also resulted in retaliation from the Superintendent. He cut Moore’s  days. When Mr. Moore spoke up about these changes to his boss, his boss simply replied, “You Black motherf*****, if you don’t like it, then drag the f*** up,” which Mr. Moore understood to mean “quit.”

 In his next complaint Human Resources forced Mr. Moore to explain the racial harassment in the presence of his harasser, the Superintendent. The Superintendent stood up and screamed at Mr. Moore, “you mother*****” and stormed out of the meeting. Incredibly, he kept his job. When Mr. Moore returned to his work station, a member of management pulled up in his truck, handed him his business card, stating, “I don’t ever want you to let him or anyone else talk to you that way. If he does that again, call me.”

As alleged in the Amended Complaint, the Superintendent spoke to Mr. Moore’s fiancée in front of other workers at the plant and propositioned her, telling her that if there was “anything, anything that you need, you call me,” repeating to her, “I can give you what you want, you can just call me,” indicating that he could please her however she wanted. When Moore found out about the phone call later that evening, he was furious. He complained once again to the plant project manager, who stated he would look into the situation but did not specify what he would do. Moore then escalated his complaint to an EXCEL Vice President, visiting the plant from out of state during a hurricane. A few weeks later, Moore heard from other coworkers that his boss, the plant superintendent had put in his notice.

Mere days after being served with this lawsuit a Vice President told Moore that he was under investigation for a work incident, saying “Don’t return to work until you hear from me.” When he did not hear from EXCEL he was forced to take a job elsewhere. On filing an Amended Complaint alleging that he was discharged in retaliation for bringing this lawsuit, Mr. Moore received a message from EXCEL that he was free to return to work.

This case is an all-too-common example of what not to do if you are an employer and you become aware of a complaint of racial harassment Had EXCEL conducted a proper investigation when Mr. Moore first complained it would have interviewed the same two eyewitnesses whose sworn statements corroborate the Amended Complaint. It should then have taken appropriate disciplinary action and if the racial harassment recurred, fired the harasser. Instead, EXCEL blamed the victim, telling him he needed to stand up for himself. As a result it finds itself a Defendant in a federal lawsuit and Mr. Moore is left with some very disturbing memories.

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