Crazy Talk: Workplace Noose and Shackles?

A Roanoke, Va., maintenance employee says that was just one part of the hostile environment he faced.

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Vernell Coles, a maintenance worker at a Roanoke, Va., medical and office complex, is claiming that he endured discrimination and racial harassment that included the display of shackles and a noose in his workplace, according to the Roanoke Times.

If his allegations are true, those were just the physical signs of a hostile work environment, where both Carilion Clinic managers and co-workers used racial slurs against him. In a case that moved forward in district court this week when a judge denied a motion to dismiss the suit, Coles states that one manager told him he would never advance because he was a "worthless n---er." Another stated that Coles only got his job with the assistance of the NAACP and that he was a "lazy n---er," the lawsuit claims.

"It's fairly egregious behavior," lawyer Terry Grimes, who filed the lawsuit, told the Roanoke Times.

That's putting it mildly.

The lawsuit does not provide details of just where the noose and shackles were displayed on Carilion property, but claims they were part of a "racially hostile and offensive work environment" that persisted during Coles' 15 years of employment.

A Carilion spokesman declined to comment in detail on the case.

"While we are unable to discuss the details of ongoing litigation, we believe the regrettable accusations are without merit," Eric Earnhart said.

"Our commitment to a work environment supportive of our wonderful, caring employees is unwavering."

During the hearing in U.S. District Court, an attorney for Carilion asked Conrad to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Coles' allegations failed to meet several legal standards.

Read more at the Roanoke Times.