PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A Clackamas County jury has rejected most of the claims made in a racially charged lawsuit filed against the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

A black employee sought $1 million after he found a noose hanging near his work area at the OLCC’s warehouse last year, The Oregonian reported (http://is.gd/ySL9yX ).

Gene Summerfield says he endured racial bias, a hostile work environment and retaliation for complaining. The jury validated his whistleblower complaint on Friday but awarded him no damages.

As part of the investigation into his behavior, authorities say they found allegations of Summerfield selling prescription drugs and loan-sharking. He was fired.

The investigation also revealed a workplace atmosphere that included goose-stepping and frequent racial slurs about blacks and Hispanics. The two-week trial included witnesses who reported workers giving each other “Heil Hitler” salutes.

A state lawyer defending the OLCC says Summerfield’s caustic personality, not his race, caused problems. She said a police investigation “could not rule out that Mr. Summerfield could have (hung the noose) himself” and noted that Summerfield got a promotion faster than most warehouse workers.

The attorney, Heather Van Meter, described the warehouse as “a group of blue-collar hardworking people and, yes, they occasionally swear.”

Summerfield’s attorney, Beth Creighton, challenged Van Meter’s description of the warehouse language.

“They were racial epithets that cut to the core,” Creighton said.

OLCC spokeswoman Christie Scott called it a “fair trial.”

“Our agency places a high value on diversity,” Scott said, reading from a statement. “We are committed to a respectful, inclusive and professional work environment.”

Creighton spent considerable time detailing the timeline that led up to the trial, noting how much effort the state spent in its investigation that led to Summerfield’s firing. Not only was OLCC’s human resources manager involved, so were civil and criminal investigators from the state Justice Department, she said.

It was all part of an effort to get rid of Summerfield and discredit his charges.

“The state can’t be found having a noose in the workplace,” Creighton said. “They’re going to come out with all of their resources to prevent that from happening.”