A recent spate of bizarre “noose” incidents at workplaces in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have activists calling for tough responses.
A Verizon worker in Butler County discovered a doll with a noose around its neck and a note saying she didn’t deserve a promotion. Days later, a worker at a construction site in O’Hara Township found a noose in his work area. His employer, the Zambrano Corporation, responded that it had “taken immediate measures to stop further incidents” and turned the matter over to the police and the FBI.
Two weeks later, an Allegheny General Hospital housekeeper found a noose taped to a wall. Three days later, Allegheny reported that an HR investigation showed “the action, though clearly inappropriate, was neither malicious nor racial.” The hospital added that it had “arranged for a meeting between all parties involved so that the matter is fully and sincerely addressed.”
The housekeeper said anonymously that she thought whoever was responsible should be fired.
In Philadelphia, a construction worker was promptly fired from further work at the Comcast Tower site after he waved a noose at a black worker and said he wanted to hang someone. Some black workers felt that response was a slap on the wrist, as the Glazier’s Union said it supported the fired worker and would likely move him to another job site.
Final note: The safest course for an employer confronted with offensive behavior is swift, decisive action. Zambrano and the Comcast contractors were at least on the right track. Anything less is a quick ticket to court.