"Noose" Controversy: Racism vs Office Horseplay in Caldwell

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Is it a case of racial discrimination, or an office joke?

A local man says he received the ultimate form of discrimination in the workplace, a "noose" sitting on his desk.

However, the controversy revolves around whether it was actually a "noose" or just a "rope".

It's been nothing but tears of sadness for Linda Eglan, after her husband Joseph found a roughed up piece of rope, knotted into something that looked more like a hangman's noose on his office desk just a few weeks ago.

"It's a noose, it's the thing our forefathers and ancestors were hung with," Linda Eglan said "There's nothing funny about that."

"I was very upset, I was mad," Joseph Eglan said.

Joseph works for Big Creek Construction in Caldwell, and says upper management came out to conduct their own investigation into what happened just a couple of weeks ago. However, it's how they're handling that investigation that has Joseph concerned.

"He called it a rope several times, matter of fact he said it was a rope," Joseph said."I said noose, he said rope, I said noose. I said sir if you're not going to call it what it is, a noose, not a piece of rope this conversation is over."

The company wrote Joseph a letter, in it time and time again using the word "rope" and not the word "noose".

They also added that no one at Joseph's shop is aware of any racial issues, jokes, insults, or discrimination of any kind.

However, to Linda that's exactly what the noose represents.

"Hatred.......hatred, and I'm so angry," Linda said.

We contacted the Big Creek Construction Company's main office in Waco, but they declined to comment.

So we decided to stop by the construction company in Caldwell, and see what they had to say about the Eglan's story.

"I think it's all been blown way out of proportion it really has," a manager said.

The Eglan's say the noose encounter is being passed off as joke, and that everyone at the construction company is acting like they're just making a big deal out of nothing.

"It's been like brother J why did you go to the supervisor we could have handled this," Joseph said. "That's exactly the reaction I've gotten from this, more like I did something wrong."

"It's like we are the ones that have committed the crime, and we haven't. That's just ridiculous," Linda said. "This is 2008, not '68, or '58, we've lived this in our teenage years."

And it's something they hope they never have to relive again.

The Eglan's say one of the employees involved in the noose incident has been given a raise, and that no other action has been taken at the work site.

They since have filed their own grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and have just received a letter back from the EEOC stating their charge is eligible for mediation.

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