A Black female therapist in Alabama found a noose hanging from a tree at her home after going to her employer with allegations of racism on the job, according to a lawsuit.
Takiya Lawson-McCants says she started experiencing racism as soon as she was hired in 2019 at Alabama Mentor, which provides foster care assistance for children, adults, and families, according to the Daily Beast.
In the lawsuit, Lawson-McCants says a white colleague talked about living in a “sundown town,” or a community where Black people aren’t welcome after dark. Lawson-McCants said that the co-worker told her that she had a member of her family who hanged Black people who didn’t leave town by time the sun sets, according to the Daily Beast. This horrible person went on to joke about her family history and took pride in the racism of their hometown, which, interestingly enough, is named in the lawsuit as Arab, Ala.
This same colleague, according to the suit, also said that Black children could be lynched there and that white families who hosted Black people could find a burning cross in their yard. Of course, the colleague allegedly used racial epithets including “n——r,” “black bitch,” “slave,” and “monkeys” when referring to Black people.
Here is more on the lawsuit, per the Daily Beast:
Lawson-McCants says in the suit that she tried to brush off the racism in her workplace, but that it became so elevated that she could no longer ignore it. She and a Black colleague reported the white co-worker’s behavior, according to the lawsuit, but nothing seemed to happen.
Instead, the plaintiff claims, the co-worker was not fired—and even got promoted, only for the racism to escalate.
At one point, Lawson-McCants says, white women in the workplace tried to retaliate against her and other Black employees. She says that they created a private group chat where they talked about their Black co-workers and criticized Black foster parents.
Eventually, the suit says, Lawson-McCants filed an official complaint against the co-worker—only for things to go further off the deep end.
After the complaint was filed, Lawson-McCants claims, she found a noose hanging in a tree in her backyard. She also says that she started to be harassed with calls from the co-worker’s hometown, and threatened that the Ku Klux Klan was still active.
Lawson-McCants went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a complaint, but claims Alabama Mentor hired a defense team and made arbitration agreements mandatory in order for her to continue her employment. If she refused to comply and sign away her right to a jury trial, she could lose her job, according to the lawsuit.
She is seeking retribution for “humiliation, embarrassment, and mental anguish” she claims she experienced. Additionally, Lawson-McCants is asking for Alabama Mentor to create new procedures to prevent workplace discrimination.
“Employees have a right to a workplace that is free from racial hatred and retaliation. Takiya is exercising her rights,” Lawson-McCants’ lawyer, Brian Noble, told the Daily Beast.
“In some circles, even here in Alabama, people seem to think this kind of egregious, openly racist behavior has largely disappeared—or at the very least, it’s gone underground. Of course, it hasn’t. It’s very real,” he added. “It takes tremendous courage for anyone, let alone a current employee, to come forward with this kind of information. But that’s what has to happen. In my view, Takiya is a hero and an inspiration.”