Those who work on ships as well as at seaports, in New York and throughout the country, may want to learn more about a recent ruling by the Louisiana court. They ruled that an employee may claim mental injury when it comes to harassment and a hostile work environment. This was the result of a rope noose that was hanging in a ship’s wheelhouse.
According to a law review, the court’s decision had a finding under unlawful harassment litigation under the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
African American targeted
The case was originally in court in 2008, when an African American worker on a ship, on temporary assignment, saw a noose hanging in the wheelhouse. He asked the captain to take it down and said he would report it. The captain did nothing, and the worker reported it to personnel. He was soon transferred off the ship.
Filed petition against company
A year later, the employee filed suit against the shipping company. The company said that the worker was not in a “zone of danger” with a threat of physical harm, as necessary in the Jones Act. The lower court dismissed the worker’s claim in 2009.
Higher court has a word
After several dismissals of the case in the lower court, the worker brought up the case again in 2019. It had the claim of unlawful harassment litigation under the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In short, the worker felt harassment and a threat from the sight of the noose, which traditionally was a symbol of hatred. The man’s assignment was to work on the boat until his 28-day shift was over.
Not physical danger, but mental
Although under the Jones Act, the worker was not in danger of physical harm, he did suffer emotional harm. This was the result of a harassing workplace.
The display of a noose, even as a single incident, was sufficiently the type of severe circumstance that would create a hostile work environment. It falls under anti-discrimination. The worker has coverage under the Jones Act, and the case will proceed.