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St. Lawrence man files lawsuit alleging workplace abuse

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CANTON— A St. Lawrence County man accusing two coworkers of racial abuse over a period of three years filed a lawsuit Monday seeking $400,000 in damages.

Norman Findlay, a production supervisor at HP Hood’s LaFargeville plant, filed suit against John Sheen and Joe Pierce, both Jefferson County residents and foremen at the same plant.

Mr. Findlay, who is black and whose responsibilities include supervising the foremen, alleged several incidents of racial targeting and one of physical abuse by the two foremen.

In Jan. 2008, Mr. Sheen allegedly told Mr. Findlay that “my dad raised me to hate niggers” and, from then through Aug. 2011, made disparaging remarks toward Mr. Findlay while in the presence of other employees.

In Aug. 2011, while on the plant’s production floor, he reportedly called Mr. Findlay a “nigger who should get fired.”

Within the lawsuit, it’s alleged that an HP Hood operation manager, plant manager and human resources director were all notified about the harassment, yet the situation remained unaddressed and unresolved.

In the most recent incident highlighted in the lawsuit, Mr. Findlay accused Mr. Pierce of punching him in the shoulder and giving him the middle finger during a workplace dispute.

Mr. Findlay’s attorney, Mani Tafari, did not return a call seeking comment. An HP Hood legal representative declined to comment. Legal representation for Mr. Pierce and Mr. Sheen was unknown.

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