Ashley, FBI look into alleged plant noose incident

By PATSY R. BRUMFIELD/Daily Journal

RIPLEY – Ashley Furniture Inc. officials say they are investigating a Ripley plant incident in which a noose allegedly was left on the coat hook of a black employee.
Carlos Moore of Grenada, the employee’s attorney, said when his client came to work Saturday he found the noose after a fellow employee reportedly said it was for him.
Moore said he met with the FBI on Monday and was told the agency opened its own investigation.
Paulette Rippley, an Ashley spokesman, said this Tuesday for the Wisconsin-based company:
“Yesterday afternoon, an employee reported an incident that occurred on Saturday. Ashley immediately commenced an investigation and appropriate action will be taken consistent with the findings of the investigation.”
Moore said the alleged noose incident came one day after his client, who unloads at the Tippah County plant, said he found the initials “KKK” spray-painted on pallets in the area where he works.
“The message is clear,” Moore said. “Somebody is trying to intimidate him.”
Moore declined to name his client but said his identity likely will be made public soon.
Moore also said he contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about the incident. After its own consideration, the EEOC may issue an opinion about whether the Ashley employee has a right to sue the company over work conditions.
However, Moore indicated he is prepared to move ahead on federal and state claims for his client.