A Black electrical worker is filing a federal anti-discrimination lawsuit after he says he was fired for reporting a noose he found on a job site.
Stevie Lamont Stuckes, in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday (March 9), alleges that in his nearly three-year tenure at Pike Electric—which is headquartered in Mt. Airy, North Carolina— he was exposed to a workplace culture full of “racially charged jokes” and racist slurs.
James Banner, the senior vice president of administration at the company, told the Charlotte Observer in a statement that Pike “takes these allegations very seriously and took immediate action at the time to address the incident.”
“We believe these allegations completely distort the facts and the company’s response,” Banner added. “Pike looks forward to responding in court with the facts as they actually happened.”
Stuckes alleges in his lawsuit that while on job sites coworkers often told him “You don’t know where you at, boy,” and used other derogatory language about African Americans. The alleged harassment escalated in October 2019, when Stuckes was assigned a job in Clearwater, Florida.
According to the lawsuit, Stuckes claims a co-worker pulled a knife on him while he was working as the only Black person in a five-person crew. He says he reported the incident, but nothing was done.
On November 10, 2019, Stuckes found the noose. He again reported the incident and says in the lawsuit that the company “did nothing to alleviate the terror” he felt.
“He knew the noose was meant for him because the Clearwater Site crew was small, Stevie was the only African American crew member, and each crew member knew Stevie worked on that part of the Pike machinery,” Stuckes’s attorney says in the complaint.
Following the incident, Stuckes says he was demoted twice and his pay was cut and ultimately he was laid off in May 2020. According to the Charlotte Observer, his lawsuit follows four other similar federal suits filed between 2004 and 2008 against Pike. Three were settled out of court, while one was dismissed. Stuckes is seeking at least $25,000 in damages and attorney fees.
Photo: Zen Rial