A black housekeeper is suing the assisted living facility in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, where she was reportedly given a birthday cake with “a noosed up black hangman”. The facility argues it was just a stick figure.
“While it is unknown whether (these) claims will survive testing at a later stage of this litigation, the allegations in her complaint, when viewed cumulatively and taken in the light most favorable to (her)… are sufficiently plausible,” a magistrate judge in the Western District of North Carolina said recommending the suit continue. A federal judge accepted his recommendations and rejected the senior care facility’s motion to dismiss.
Tonya R. Chapman penned her complaint late last year, saying she was a jack of all trades at Oakland Living Center where she worked as a housekeeper, personal care aid and cook for more than 10 years.
But as “the lone black employee,” she said Oakland and the family who runs it harassed her to the point of quitting.
“I deserve to be treated better,” Chapman wrote.
Chapman alleges in the complaint that she was subject to various instances of harassment during the course of her employment, including hearing one defendant reportedly say they needed a new beach house “because of all the blacks at Myrtle Beach.”
She said later in the suit that she was forced to turn sideways like a prisoner when taking her photo ID while another defendant joked she would be given a “slave number” on her badge.
The young son of one defendant also reportedly taunted Chapman with a chant — “N-word, N-word, get to work N-word” — and told her that his father had called her a “lazy black N-word” because she didn’t come to work, Chapman said.
“I asked him to please stop but he continued the ugly language,” she wrote in the complaint. “He then kicked me and hit me on the bottom. I just ignored him until he got bored and walked out of the kitchen for a minute.”
Chapman also said she was given a birthday cake in 2014 that depicted a black person in a noose.