When a black employee at the ExxonMobil complex in Baton Rouge discovered a hangman’s noose at his job site in January 2020, it wasn’t the first time. According to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the incident had happened three times before and would happen again in December of the same year. ExxonMobil is being sued by the EEOC for racial discrimination, alleging the petrochemical company violated federal law by failing to take action, or even act, when the nooses were reported. At the time the worker reported the incident, “ExxonMobil was aware that three other nooses had been exposed at the Baton Rouge complex,” the EEOC said in a statement. “The EEOC alleges that ExxonMobil investigated some, but not all, of the prior incidents and failed to take reasonably calculated steps to end the harassment. ExxonMobil’s actions and omissions regarding the incidents related to the rope have created a racially hostile work environment.” Elizabeth Owen, senior counsel for the EEOC, explained its significance: “A noose is a long-standing symbol of the violence associated with the lynching of African Americans. are inherently threatening and significantly alter the work environment for Black Americans. The EEOC filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Intermediate District of Louisiana after “first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through of its conciliation process,” he said.