- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A federal agency has filed a lawsuit against a Missouri hotel management company over allegations that some of the company’s black employees were subjected to racial slurs.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued John Q. Hammons Hotel Management of Springfield, Missouri, after black employees at the Marriott Hotel in Normal, Illinois, said they faced racial slurs and slavery comments from other employees, The Springfield News-Leader reported (https://sgfnow.co/1Gu9BlB ).

The EEOC said a black employee at the hotel was told, “Thank you for your contribution to America for picking all that cotton,” according to the lawsuit.

The agency also contends the company took little or no action to stop the racial harassment

“As soon as an employer becomes aware of any kind of discriminatory harassment in the workplace, the employer must act - and must act promptly,” John Hendrickson, EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, said in a news release.



The lawsuit was filed Sept. 30 in federal court in Illinois.

Sheri Smith, spokeswoman for John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, which has 35 hotels in 16 states, said the company does not comment on pending litigation. But Smith pointed to its “stellar record of employing thousands of individuals nationwide in a safe, fair and non-discriminatory environment.”

Smith said John Q. Hammons Hotels Management is the legal name of the entity that does business as John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts.

“We have proven protocols in place company-wide to help ensure successful adherence to EEOC employment policies and practices,” Smith said.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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