Federal regulators have sued a wind turbine blade manufacturer in Grand Forks, N.D., on allegations of subjecting a Black employee to a racially hostile work environment and then punishing him for complaining.

According to the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Thursday in U.S. District Court, white employees and supervisors of LM Wind Power targeted Hayward Jones with sustained racial hostility.

The hostility, the suit alleges, included racial slurs and threats of violence.

White co-workers referred to Jones as a monkey on social media and tagged him in Facebook postings that discussed white power, the suit alleges.

A white supervisor threatened to "slap the black off" him and "hang Jones from a bridge or drag him behind a truck," the suit says.

Despite Jones' frequent complaints, LM Wind Power failed to discipline the harassers in any meaningful way, the suit says, and instead allowed the abuse to continue.

Eventually, LM Wind Power fired Jones in October 2019 as retaliation for his complaints, the suit says.

Company spokesman Fernando Reartes declined to answer questions from the Star Tribune on Friday or make anyone available to address the lawsuit.

Instead, he released a statement that read, "LM Wind Power has not and does not tolerate discrimination, harassment or retaliation of any kind. LM Wind Power took appropriate action, and we look forward to a respectful and fair resolution of the matter."

The EEOC said the company's troubling conduct goes back to at least 2016 and violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race-related harassment and retaliation.

In hopes of avoiding its lawsuit, the agency said, it tried unsuccessfully to reach a settlement on behalf of Jones.

"No person should have to endure hateful racial slurs and threats of violence as the price of coming to work," Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC in Chicago, said in a statement.

Diane Smason, acting district director of the agency's Chicago office, added: "The EEOC is committed to vigorous enforcement of federal anti-discrimination law and will not tolerate retaliation against employees who oppose these illegal acts."

The suit asks the court to order LM Wind Power to immediately halt all racially discriminatory acts by its employees and craft policies that promote equal opportunities for employees regardless of race.

Also, the court is asked to order the company to pay a punitive fine, compensate Jones for lost wages and other benefits and offer his job back.

The suit also wants the company to pay him for the "emotional pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, and inconvenience in amounts to be determined at trial."

LM Wind, whose global headquarters are in Denmark, has operated in Grand Forks for about 25 years. It has facilities in nine countries in four continents, according to the corporate website.