Small matters add up with racial discrimination at work

by on January 2, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Keeping up with the graffiti

Companies are responsible for enforcing their anti-harassment policies – aggressively if necessary. It’s never enough just to single out one or two culprits to try and set an example.

Racially derogatory graffiti sprang up all over a worksite. African-American workers (among others) complained. The graffiti was removed and the perpetrators suspended without pay.

But soon more graffiti appeared, and this time the company didn’t make as strong of an effort to deal with the obvious workplace racial discrimination.

Eight African-American employees filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the firm for tolerating a racially hostile work environment. In court the company showed how it cleaned up the first wave of graffiti and set an example by punishing the offenders. But the defendants showed that the firm hadn’t kept up with the graffiti or the constant racial slurs and bigoted jokes in the workplace.

The company paid $25,000 each to the eight employees and promised to enforce its anti-harassment policies in the future.

Cite: EEOC v. Dutch Farms.
Racial discrimination at work cost company $18,000

A Salt Lake City company that makes cabinets agreed to pay $18,000 to a man who said co-workers called him “a damn Mexican,” “wetback” and other slurs during a 30-year career.

Apparently supervisors did nothing to stop the racial slurs, which included writing on the restroom walls.

The worker chose to stay with the company until 2002 despite the abuse because the pay was excellent, his attorney said.

The company agreed to a settlement that included anti-discrimination training for its 50 employees.

Cite: EEOC v. Granite Mill & Fixture.

Racial discrimination at work cost firm $562,500

A manager who told an African-American employee that he wouldn’t tolerate “B.P.” – black people – got the company into $562,500 worth of trouble.

The manager fired three black people at the first staff meeting he held after transferring to the location, the EEOC charged in its suit.

The Colorado-based firm settled the racial discrimination lawsuit for more than half a million dollars.

Cite: EEOC v. Lithia Motors.
Ignored dispute leads to racial discrimination lawsuit

When employee disputes involve members of a protected class, you need to take action.

Management at Ford of Greenburg chose to stay out of brouhaha in its sales force, even after two African-American salesmen complained that they were being insulted by white co-workers every day.

Eventually, a white salesman sided with the African-Americans and was fired in retaliation. The three salesmen filed a complaint with the EEOC. And when the agency and the salesmen sued, the company was forced to settle for more than $500,000.

Cite: EEOC v. Ford of Greenburg.

Leave a Reply


Request a Free Demo

We'd love to show you how this industry-leading training system can help you develop your team. Please fill out this quick form or give us a call at 877-792-2172 to schedule your one-on-one demo with a Rapid Learning Specialist.