THOMASVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A family owned mattress manufacturer in Thomasville is facing a federal lawsuit, saying the company subjected black employees to a racially hostile work environment.

The lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Aug. 28 against Carolina Mattress Guild Inc. The EEOC wants a jury trial.

According to the EEOC, truck loader Ricky Clark and other black employees were repeatedly subjected to unwelcome derogatory racial comments and slurs by a white employee, including the N-word, between June and August of last year.

Clark complained to company management, but the harassment continued, the EEOC wrote. Three days after his last complaint, the agency said, Clark was fired in retaliation for his complaints.

The suit identified one other black employee who was subjected to the same racial epithet by the white employee," according to the EEOC.

The agency is requesting monetary relief, including back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief and reinstatement for Clark and other affected black employees.

Carolina Mattress Guild calls the charges "unfounded" and says it will successfully defend itself in court.