A federal agency has filed a lawsuit against a Missouri company over allegations of racial slurs directed at some of the company's black employees.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing John Q. Hammons Hotel Management of Springfield, Missouri, after black employees at a Marriott hotel in Normal, Illinois, said they faced racial slurs and slavery comments.

The Springfield News-Leader reports the agency also contends the company took little or no action to stop the racial harassment.

Hammons spokeswoman Sheri Smith says the company does not comment on pending litigation, but says the company has a "stellar record" and "a safe, fair and non-discriminatory environment."

The lawsuit was filed Sept. 30 in federal court in Illinois. The agency says the company manages 69 hotels in 24 states.


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