Fadwa Charnitski is woman originally from Kuwait. In September 2005, Charnitski became a sales person at MotorWorld Group. According to her lawsuit for gender, race and national origin discrimination, she was “one of the top sales persons” as well as the only female in that role. Charnitski told the jury that her fellow employees called her racially charged insults and told her the entire Middle East “had to be nuked.” Then in an effort to associate her with terrorists, her coworkers left Taliban associated documents on her desk. When Charnitski wrote Arabic prayers on her on papers in her office, co-workers would cross them out.
You may be wondering – how can an employer be responsible for the acts of co-workers? The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the liability of employers in the context subordinate-supervisor harassment. Erebia v. Chrysler Plastic Products Corp., 772 F.2d 1250, 1257 (6th Cir.1985). Moreover, courts generally look to the employer’s knowledge of and response to harassment regardless of the relationship between the parties. Id; See also Spells v. Cuyahoga Community College, 889 F.Supp. 1023, 1027-28 (N.D.Ohio 1994). Thus, the issue is not that the employees were the same level (or even subordinates) – it is whether the employer was aware of the harassment, and failed to take prompt and remedial action.
According to the discrimination lawsuit, when Charnitski complained to and sought help from supervisors, they told her to ignore the national origin and race based “jokes,” and took no further action. Employers must understand that such conduct is not “jokes” but is real national origin and racial harassment that must be immediately stopped.
But, instead of correcting the problem, MotorWorld chose to retaliate against Charnitski. Despite no prior disciplinary issues and a progressive disciplinary system, Charnitski testified at trial that she was then fired without a single warning when a customer claimed that she said “stupid American.” I can only imagine that other salespeople had received customer complaints – as is common in any service industry – but were not summarily terminated.
MotorWorld refused to settle the discrimination case, probably relying on their arrogant belief that jurors would not like an Arab woman. That decision was very bad. After two and a half years of costly litigation handled by Pennslyvania attorney, Tim Kolman, the jury found clear evidence of race, gender, and national origin discrimination and awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.
If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your race, whatever race that may be, then call the right attorney. Race discrimination includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, and denied wages. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040, you will meet with an attorney from the Spitz law firm who will help you determine the best way to pursue your legal claims.
If you feel that your employer is discriminating against you based on your national origin (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Asian or even American), you may have a legal claim. To find out if you have a legal claim for national origin discrimination, your best option is to call the right attorney at 866-797-6040 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At the Spitz law firm, you will meet with a national origin discrimination attorney, who will be able to tell you what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them.
The materials available at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to race discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of the Spitz law firm or any individual attorney.