A Black therapist from Alabama has filed a lawsuit against her employer for retaliation. She says that she found a noose outside of her home after she reported a series of racially charged incidents at her job.
In her lawsuit, Takiya Lawson-McCants alleges that the company Alabama Mentor, which provides foster care assistance for children, adults and families, started to harass her after she began working for them in 2019.
She accuses the company of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Lawson-McCants was based at AM’s Birmingham location.
Lawson-McCants claimed that a white coworker boasted about living in a “sundown town.” Between 1890 and 1968, thousands of towns across the country pushed out their Black communities. African Americans were banned from living in such towns.
Lawson-McCants says the colleague told her that she had a family member who hanged Black people who do not leave town by sunset. The town was Arab, Alabama.
The suit says that the colleague even bragged that Black children could be lynched there and that a white family who entertained Black people in their home could find a burning cross in their yard as a consequence.
“My dad hangs black people who don’t leave town before the sun goes down,” the lawsuit alleged the white colleague told her.
That same coworker is also alleged to have referred to Black people using the following slurs: “n—-r,” “Black b—ch,” “slave,” and “wig-wearing monkeys.”
She says that she and a Black colleague eventually reported the white coworker’s behavior, but nothing was done. The white coworker was even promoted.
Instead, Lawson-McCants said they created a private group chat where they discussed their Black coworkers and criticized Black foster parents.
It was after Lawson-McCants filed an official complaint against the coworker— that she says she found a noose hanging in a tree in her backyard. She also began to receive harassing calls from the coworker’s hometown. She says she even received threats from the Ku Klux Klan.
“Employees have a right to a workplace that is free from racial hatred and retaliation. Takiya is exercising her rights,” Lawson-McCants’ lawyer, Brian Noble, told The Daily Beast.
“In some circles, even here in Alabama, people seem to think this kind of egregious, openly racist behavior has largely disappeared—or at the very least, it’s gone underground. Of course, it hasn’t. It’s very real,” he added. “It takes tremendous courage for anyone, let alone a current employee, to come forward with this kind of information. But that’s what has to happen. In my view, Takiya is a hero and an inspiration.”
Lawson-McCants is seeking retribution for “humiliation, embarrassment, and mental anguish.”
Alabama Mentor has not responded to the allegations.