SIUE worker claims superiors failed to investigate alleged human rights violation

Kelly Holleran Mar. 7, 2012, 1:16am

An East Alton man claims his superiors at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville failed to properly handle an incident in which two garbage bags were hung on his door to resemble an African-American hung on a noose.

George W. Johnson filed a lawsuit March 2 in Madison County Circuit Court against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

In his complaint, Johnson alleges he was working as a building mechanic at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's East St. Louis location on March 5, 2010, when he found "...two black garbage bags tied to his office door in a manner that resembled an African-American being hung by a noose."

Immediately following the incident, Johnson reported to the SIUE police, but says it has not been properly handled.

"SIUE's employees' creating or allowing a hostile work environment through race discrimination and/or racial harassment and through defendant's failure to investigate the matter and failure to take corrective or remedial actions, Defendant has violated Plaintiff's rights under the Illinois Human Rights Act," the suit states.

Because of the incident, Johnson has suffered from humiliation, mental anguish and mental distress, the complaint says.

Keith Short and Noel L. Smith Jr. of Short and Smith in Wood River will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-273.

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