What if you came to work and found a noose placed next to your belongings? That is what Vanessa Savage, a black woman from Washington County, Oregon, found in her cubicle one morning at Washington County’s housing authority. What made the noose even more alarming was that it was from her supervisor. Savage looked at the noose, complete with a note attached that said “termination notice”, as a possible prank or threat.
“This is 2014 and a supervisor brings a noose to work and nothing is done about it,” Savage said.
Shocked and distraught, Savage notified authorities of the incident. Despite these facts, an investigation from the county concluded that there was no racial undertone, but it has been recommended that they order all the employees undergo sensitivity training.
Savage has refused to back down from the county’s conclusion about the noose. “A noose is designed to terrorize people and there’s a historical precedent that that’s what the noose does,” Savage said. “And when you put a noose on a note that says ‘terminated, fired,’ he wanted it to have a certain impact and it did.”
She has also hired an attorney to help her further into this case. Since then, she has taken a leave of absence from work, saying that she was working in a hostile environment.
It remains to be seen what the outcome of this case will be for Savage, but it is evident that workplace racism still exists.