Showing posts with label race discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label race discrimination. Show all posts

Thursday, August 20, 2020

BLM vs. MAGA at work

Depending on your political perspective, Goodyear is either being praised or criticized after this slide from diversity training at its Topeka, Kansas, plant went viral.

BLM or LGBT messages on clothing okay; MAGA, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, or other political symbols not okay.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

PLEASE, I’m freaking begging you, DO NOT use social media to determine applicants’ race and gender

Almost as long as social media has existed, employers have searched social media to dig up dirt on prospective employees. There is nothing illegal about these searches … provided you don’t use the information unlawfully. For example, to discriminate on the basis of a protected class.

If Lisa McCarrick, a former Amazon manager, wins her lawsuit against the online retailer, Amazon is going to learn this lesson the hard way.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

What does it mean to be "similarly situated" for purposes of proving discrimination?

The Ohio Department of Public Safety fired Morris Johnson, an African American state trooper, after he sexually harassed multiple women while on duty. He claimed that his termination was because of his race, and pointed to David Johnson, a White trooper, who he claimed committed similar harassment but was not fired.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

“Hairstyle discrimination” laws: a solution in search of a problem

I fully embrace the irony of a local news broadcast holding me out as the expert on hair discrimination. 👨🏻‍🦲

Irony notwithstanding, here I am on last night’s 6 o’clock news discussing why we don’t need to ban workplace hairstyle discrimination. (Big thank you to WEWS’s Mike Brookbank for reaching out and for the interview.)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

When it comes to racial preference, the customer is never right

An Illinois Buffalo Wild Wings has fired all employees involved in an incident in which staff acceded to the request of a Caucasian “regular” to relocate a group of African-American diners to a different table. The reason—he “didn’t want to sit near black people.”

NBC Chicago has the details.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Is this the worst defense ever to a discrimination claim?

Litigation is painful. It takes a lot of time, costs a lot of money, and has lots of variables that you just can’t control. Especially when the client goes off the rails and says something so ludicrous that you might as well just pack it in and cut a check.

As an example, I offer Evans v. Canal Street Brewing. It’s a race discrimination currently pending in federal court in Detroit. According to the Detroit Metro Times, the plaintiff, who is African-American, alleges “a racist internal corporate culture,” including the repeated used of the “N word”, and  management naming its printer the “white guy printer” and  the printer for lower-tier employees the “black guy printer.”

The employer’s defense? The restaurant’s general manager, Dominic Ryan, claims that he did not know Evans was black.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

New EEOC case is a not-so-subtle reminder that we still have a lot of work to do to improve race relations

The allegations in this case—which the EEOC just filed against a Louisiana river transporter—remind us that while race relations have improved over the past several decades, they are far from perfect and we remain a nation with a lot of work to do.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Why “ban the box” doesn’t work for employers or employees

Listen this clip from Ear Hustle (a podcast about “the daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration”), and then let’s chat about “ban the box.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

There isn’t a “magic number” of racial or ethnic insults an employee must prove to establish a hostile work environment

Jamie Ortiz (of Puerto Rican descent) worked for the Broward County, Florida, School Board in various capacities for nearly 20 years, including, from 2009 through 2017, as an auto mechanic in the district’s garage under the supervision of Michael Kriegel.

According to the testimony of both Ortiz and many of his co-workers, Kriegel had some issues with Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics, which he expressed to anyone who would listen, including Ortiz, on a daily basis.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

There’s no such thing as “reverse” discrimination—it’s all just discrimination

According to the New York Post, a Caucasian 20-year veteran attorney for the Legal Aid Society is suing her former employer for race discrimination. Among other issues in her lawsuit, she claims that she was denied a lateral move “because of ‘diversity considerations.’”

Do you know that some courts impose a different, higher legal standard for discrimination against white employees than for discrimination against African-American employees?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What’s a hostile work environment? You’ll know it when you see it.

“I know it when I see it.” These are the famous words of Justice Potter Stewart defining legal obscenity in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964).

I feel the same way about a hostile work environment. For a hostile work environment to be actionable, it must (among other factors) be objectivity hostile. What does this mean? It’s hard to define, but I know it when I see it.

Monday, April 29, 2019

I REALLY thought people knew better not to advertise jobs “for whites”

Cynet Systems, an IT and engineering staffing company, had a viral mess on its hands over the weekend, after it posted a job that asked for candidates “Preferably Caucasian.”

Monday, March 4, 2019

Harassment need not be "hellish" to be actionable

Gates v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago (7th Cir. 2/20/19) asks a question that we see time and again in harassment cases—how bad does does the conduct have to be to support a harassment claim. The answer is bad enough, but not so bad so as to be classified as "hellish."

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How many n-bombs does it take to create a hostile work environment?

Smelter v. Southern Home Care Services (11th Cir. 9/24/18) answers the question, "How many n-bombs does it take to create an unlawful hostile work environment?"

So as not to bury the lede, the answer is one.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Despite what one court held, workplace discrimination laws DO protect employees from non-employees

Pop quiz: Can an employer ignore harassment or other discriminatory behavior directed at employees by non-employees?

If your answer is "yes," you'd be in agreement with the court in Shaw v. Access Ohio (Ohio Ct. App. 7/27/18).

You'd also be dead wrong.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Netflix demonstrates it has zero-tolerance for the N-word

Netflix has fired one of its top executives for his use of the "n-word" at work.


According to The Hollywood Reporter, sources say that Jonathan Friedland, Netflix's (now former) chief communications officer allegedly used the n-word in a meeting with other Netflix staffers, in which they were discussing the use of sensitive words in public relations communications. Friedland then allegedly exacerbated the problem by again using that word during a meeting with two of the company's African-American HR employees counseling him on the original incident.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Who is Otis Burke?

By now you’ve almost certainly heard about ABC’s cancellation of Roseanne, after Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s former senior advisor.

Today, a lot of internet ink will be spilled about ABC’s swift and decisive reaction to cut the head off any potential controversy, how private-sector employees lack free speech rights at work, and why Roseanne’s after-the-fact excuse that she was Ambien-tweeting is irrelevant.

I’d like to come at this from a different angle—all of the individuals who are now unemployed because Roseanne Barr said something racist and offensive and stupid.

Including Otis Burke.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Hair discrimination; not a thing

Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there hair, shoulder length or longer
Here, baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it, long as God can grow it, my hair
– “Hair”
Friday’s tongue in check post about the beauty of baldness got me thinking about hair and employment law.

Or, more to the point, can an employer run afoul of discrimination laws by making an employment decision based on one’s hairstyle?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tattoos at work: more acceptance, yet still some legal risk

By ABC TV [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
I am not a tattoo person. Yet, a whole lot of people are. And the numbers are increasing.

In fact, according to one recent survey, 3 in 10 Americans have at least one tattoo, up 50% in just four years. And, the younger you are, the more likely you are to sport a tattoo: 47% of millennials have a tattoo, as compared to 36% of gen Xers and only 13% of baby boomers.

Monday, February 12, 2018

What does it mean to be religious?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about religion. Or, rather, what it means to be religious.

I am not religious. Or at least not in the organized sense.

This does not mean that I am an atheist, or a pagan, or a heathen, or whatever other aspersion you’d like to cast upon me.

It just means that I do not believe I need a building and a structure upon which to ascribe my beliefs.