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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 last week seeking $400,000 in damages.

Norman Findlay, a production supervisor at HP Hood’s LaFargeville plant, filed suit in state Supreme Court 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, alleges that the two foremen physically abused him once and used racist slurs against him several times.

In January 2008, the lawsuit claims, Mr. Sheen told Mr. Findlay that “my dad raised me to hate n———” and, from then through August 2011, made racially disparaging remarks toward Mr. Findlay while in the presence of other employees.

In August 2011, Mr. Sheen repeated the slur against Mr. Findlay and said he “should get fired,” the lawsuit alleges.

Mr. Findlay’s lawsuit also claims 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. However, only Mr. Sheen and Mr. Pierce are named as defendants.

In the most recent incident alleged in the lawsuit, Mr. Pierce is accused of punching Mr. Findlay 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. Whether Mr. Pierce and Mr. Sheen have legal representation is unknown.

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