Nooses Found at Work Sites Bring Few Consequences for Culprits

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An analysis of news reports and court documents have found that more than four dozen nooses have been reported at 40 building sites and offices across the United States and Canada since 2015, with multiple nooses often found at the same site, but rarely result in meaningful consequences for those responsible, reports the Washington Post. The incidents underline the lack of inclusion of Black people in construction, who make up 6 percent of the workforce — versus 12 percent of all U.S. workers — and about 1.2 percent of its business owners. Amazon, Facebook and Apple, or their contractors, have all paused construction on massive projects employing hundreds, even thousands, of workers in recent years because of racist incidents, many involving nooses.

Displaying a noose is only a crime in New York, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Oregon and Virginia. Because there’s no clear definition of what constitutes a hate crime, police are reluctant to categorize incidents as being racially motivated, even in the face of clear evidence. Of the dozens of noose incidents in the United States reviewed by The Post, only one arrest has been made. Routine harassment ranks among the top reasons workers — particularly women and people of color — leave the industry. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reported receiving at least 50 complaints involving nooses in the construction industry from 2015 to 2020. Several cases ended in five- and six-figure settlements.

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